Myanmar

Switzerland provides the population in Myanmar with support in three main areas: peace, state-building and protection; vocational training and market development; and health. The military coup of 1 February 2021 brought radical change to the country. Switzerland adapted its cooperation programme and reoriented its engagement towards the basic needs of the population and conflict reduction. 

Map of Myanmar
© FDFA

With the Swiss Cooperation Programme for Myanmar 2019–23, Switzerland pursues the overarching goal of contributing to a peaceful, inclusive, democratic and prosperous society by promoting sustainable development, conflict transformation, reconciliation and the participation of all people in state-building.

The cooperation programme focuses on the following three areas: peace, state-building and protection; vocational training and market development; and health. Transversal themes are gender equality, good governance, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. The geographical focus is on south-eastern Myanmar (Kayin State, Mon State and part of Tanintharyi Region), southern Shan State and Rakhine State. 

Military takeover

The military coup of 1 February 2021 brought radical change to the country, exacerbating polarisation, conflict, poverty and humanitarian needs. Switzerland strongly condemned the military coup and stopped the collaboration with the military government so as not to legitimise the coup.

Switzerland remains engaged in Myanmar, but has adapted and reoriented its cooperation programme. Interventions that mitigate the impact of the crisis on the population and contribute to conflict transformation and dialogue will be prioritised until the end of 2023. Existing thematic areas in which Switzerland has proven experience, expertise and partnerships provide a solid basis for responding to the growing needs of the population and promoting a negotiated solution to the crisis.

Fragility, conflict and human rights 

Peace, state-building and protection

Switzerland works with decision-makers at different levels to promote peace, democratic principles and decentralisation. It promotes dialogue between parties to the conflict and a strengthening of human rights. It empowers people and communities to participate in decisions that directly affect them, related to their access to land, resources and services. It also seeks to improve protection for vulnerable groups from conflict, violence and natural disasters.

In 2019 and 2020, Switzerland supported negotiations between the parties to the conflict within the framework of the peace process and the revision of the Code of Conduct for democratic elections. It supported civil society and local communities in articulating their positions on decentralisation and securing their access to land. Since 2019, Switzerland has been increasingly involved in the construction/maintenance of child-friendly schools that are safe from natural hazards. It has also been working to protect stateless people, those at risk from landmines and those who suffer from discrimination.

Disaster risk reduction, emergency relief, reconstruction and protection

Skills and market development

Switzerland aims to increase capacities for gainful employment and market-oriented production through improved access to services and markets, with a focus on including remote and conflict-affected areas where employment opportunities are limited. It aims to improve income and livelihood opportunities for vulnerable women and men through technical vocational education and training models inspired by the Swiss dual education system.

In 2019 and 2020, Switzerland and its partners trained 14,000 learners (49% women) in the hospitality sector and other professions. It supported over 23’000 rubber farmers and tappers (36% women) with training in gender, land law, tapping skills, rubber processing and improved linkages with processing plants.

Vocational skills development

Health

Switzerland is committed to strengthening the health system and improving access to health services in conflict-affected and rural areas. It promotes cooperation between governmental and ethnic health organisations in the provision of high-quality health services, thus helping to build trust and strengthen social cohesion.

In 2019 and 2020, 160,000 births were attended by skilled health workers and 197 inclusive Township Health Plans were developed with Swiss support. In 2020, Swiss partners were at the forefront of the response to COVID-19, implementing prevention measures, procuring personal protective equipment and testing kits, and promoting policy dialogue and providing technical support to health actors on the ground.

Health

Approach and partners

The cooperation programme combines the instruments of diplomacy, humanitarian aid, development cooperation and peacebuilding to respond to the complex situation Myanmar. Switzerland’s main partners are NGOs (Swiss, local and international), ethnic organisations, multilateral organisations, the private sector and authorities at central, regional and district level*.  

*After the military coup, Switzerland ceased its collaboration with state authorities and increased its cooperation with other partners to achieve its goals.

Current projects

Object 13 – 24 of 29

International Humanitarian Law, Security Sector Governance and Leadership in Transition

15.03.2019 - 31.12.2019

The project aims to increase the capacities of middle-ranked officers of the Myanmar Defence Forces to (1) drive forward reforms which improve the adherence of the Myanmar Defence Forces to Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, (2) to improve protection of civilians in armed conflict and (3) to support reforms towards democratic control of armed forces.


Access to Health Fund (ACCESS)

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2023

The Access to Health Fund (previously 3MDG), is strongly committed to deliver health services in conflict-affected areas to populations beyond the reach of government. By supporting State and Ethnic Health Organizations, the fund contributes to trust, fosters coordination, and mitigates causes of conflict. The Swiss contribution represents a continuation of support to Myanmar's health actors towards achieving universal health coverage.


Primary Health Care (PHC)

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

The Primary Health Care project uses a convergent approach to improve the health status of vulnerable people in four conflict-affected townships in Kayin State. It contributes to peace, and brings together the Ministry of Health and Sports and Ethnic Health Organizations. Basic health services are strengthened through better coordination, training, supervision and supplies. Communities are empowered to achieve better health and feedback mechanisms are introduced. 


CDNH: Conflict prevention Rakhine

01.11.2018 - 31.08.2021

After the events in Rakhine in August 2017, violence and communal tensions are still prevailing and mistrust has increased among and between communities, state and village officials and security authorities. The need to gather the stakeholders around conflict prevention, livelihood skills enhancement, conflict analysis and gender and civic education is repeatedly expressed by all. This project helps to improve the relationship between the main key actors in and around Rakhine to lower the potential of further tensions, abuses and install trust-building mechanisms.


Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) Phase 2

01.07.2018 - 31.12.2022

Land governance remains at the centre of development challenges in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV), and land expropriation is a key driver of new poverty and food insecurity. The governments in the region have begun to turn their attention to legal and policy issues on land governance. This creates an opportunity for MRLG and the Reform Actors it brings together, to contribute to improvements in policies and practices regarding land tenure security for family farmers.


Vocational Skills Development Programme (VSDP)

01.05.2018 - 31.03.2023

Over 11’000 women and men will directly benefit from improved access to relevant and recognised skill development and employment opportunities in selected urban and rural areas, particularly in the South East of Myanmar, Yangon and Mandalay. The programme will further contribute to strengthening the overall vocational training system in Myanmar through strategic partnerships with the government of Myanmar and private sector partners from selected industries.


Generating Rubber Opportunities project (GRO)

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2022

The production of natural rubber is a key livelihood activity of farmers in Mon and Kayin State and northern Tanintharyi region. CARE International is mandated to implement a Market Systems Development project to work with all market actors and particularly the support institutions (meso level) for improving information, market access and access to inputs for 25,000 farmers as well as improving working conditions of particularly women in rubber plantations.




Strengthening Land Governance

01.06.2017 - 31.07.2022

In the past 12 months, close to 10’000 claims on land were registered with state/regional governments. This project addresses land issue from three different angles: 1) OneMap Myanmar, implemented by the University of Bern, facilitates multi-stakeholder processes based on accurate land data; 2) the Land Core Group is THE voice of Civil Society in policy making around land; and 3) the Transnational Institute builds the capacity and networks of ethnic civil society organisations for their effective participation in policy and peace processes.


Emergency support to IRC integrating GBV services, Protection and Health for conflict-affected communities in Rakhine State, Myanmar

01.06.2017 - 31.03.2018

This project will allow IRC to provide protection, GBV and health services to respond to identified urgent needs of conflict-affected communities in Rathedaung in Rakhine State, Myanmar, through a 7 months integrated protection, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and health response. Both, Muslim and Rakhine communities will benefit from the outcomes of this project.


Object 13 – 24 of 29