Providing development assistance to Burma/Myanmar is a top priority of the Danish Government’s engagement in Southeast Asia.
Burma/Myanmar, ranked 149 out of 187 countries in the 2011 Human Development Index, is lagging behind its neighbours in most socio-economic indicators. It is the poorest country in South-East Asia after East Timor in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Around 1/3 of the population live below the poverty line. The number of poor is highest in the ethnic areas. In addition, the prevalence of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS is high, and there is a general lack of investment in education and healthcare. Although some Millennium Development Goal (MDG) indicators have improved, it still seems unlikely that Burma/Myanmar can achieve more than a few of the MDGs by 2015.
Burma/Myanmar has, throughout history, suffered from the effects of natural disasters, civil war and political unrest. Due to the political situation in Burma/Myanmar, Danish development assistance has historically been focused on activities promoting democracy and human rights, which could be managed from outside the country. However, the country has during the last year undergone a range of positive political changes, which have opened up new opportunities for providing development assistance to the country. On this background, Denmark has from 2012 increased its involvement in Burma/Myanmar, which resulted in an increase in Danish development assistance from app. 8,5 million USD to app. 17 million USD yearly.
Denmark supports a wide range of development activities in Burma/Myanmar conducted by the UN, Danish, international and local NGO’s. Danish development assistance to Burma/Myanmar is focused in four main areas: livelihood, health, education and human rights and democracy, mainly administrated by the Danish Embassy in Bangkok. Furthermore, Denmark is providing humanitarian assistance to refugees from Burma seeking shelter in camps in Thailand and to some extent also to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Southeastern Burma, just across the border from Thailand. The humanitarian assistance is mainly administrated by the Department for Humanitarian Action, Development Policy and Civil Society (HUC) in Copenhagen. By focusing on the above areas, the Danish development assistance is supporting and contributing to the ongoing political reform process towards national reconciliation and a democratic society and improving the livelihoods of the Burmese people by alleviating the consequences of the previous regime’s mismanagement of the country, especially in the social sector.
Danish development assistance to Burma/Myanmar takes place within the frame of EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy Act, which until recently imposed a number of restrictions on economic and development cooperation with Burma. As a response to the positive political changes in Burma/Myanmar, the restrictions were temporarily suspended on the 21. April 2012. A temporary suspension of Canadian and American restrictions followed shortly after. The suspension of the sanctions has paved the way for a boarder engagement with the Burmese government on political, economic and development cooperation. International development assistance is however still hampered by lack of access to parts of the country, especially the ethnic areas and along the borders due to conflicts between ethnic groups and the Burmese army.
On these pages you will find information regarding the various projects in Burma/Myanmar that are currently supported by the Danish Embassy in Bangkok.
DANIDA-section of the Embassy can be contacted on tel:
+66 (0) 2 343 1100