President U Thein Sein delivers address at first Myanmar Development Cooperation Forum
Nay Pyi Taw, 19 Jan
President U Thein Sein delivered an opening address at the opening of the first Myanmar Development Cooperation Forum at Myanmar International Convention Centre here this morning.
The following is the full text of his speech:
I would like to welcome you to the First Myanmar Development Cooperation Forum and say “mingalar bar” to all participants including the Union Ministers, members of the Pyithu Hluttaw and political parties, members of the Governments, and representatives from donor countries, development partners and international organizations.
I am very happy to see a wide participation of many of our development partners and representatives from international organizations at the forum.
As you all know, the government has placed a great deal of emphasis on undertaking reforms geared towards political liberalization and national reconciliation during the initial stage of the reform process. The government is currently assembling the National Comprehensive Development Plan (NCDP), which consists of a set of four five-year plans covering a twenty year period from 2011-2031, as part of the second stage of the reform process to enhance economic development and raise the living standard of Myanmar people.
We hope to discuss the reform strategies and the long-term development plans with all of you as we move forward. The government will adopt a people-centered approach in line with the Framework on Economic and Social Reform (FESR) when reforming the 10 priority areas such as finance and revenue, relaxation of restrictions on trade and foreign investment, development of the private sector, education and health sectors, food security and development of the agricultural sector, transparency in government, the mobile phone and internet systems, and development of the basic infrastructure.
We are also undertaking administrative and management reforms as the third stage of the reform process. In order to help achieve economic growth and raise the living standard for all citizens, the government is striving to foster good governance and promote clean government throughout the country.
The government has undertaken various reforms over the past twenty one months. Because of these reforms, the international community has made significant changes in their respective policies towards Myanmar, most visibly in the last six months.
This forum is being held mainly because the international donors who wish to help and partner with Myanmar in its reform process would like to know the priority sectors and areas in the country’s reform strategy and development plans.
I would also like to inform you that the government’s economic policies will focus on the development of the agricultural sector, creation of a modern industrialized country, narrowing the development gap between States and Regions as well as urban and rural areas, establishing an accurate and reliable statistical data base, and improving the statistical data collection system.
While cooperating with donor countries and organizations in accordance with the five principles of the Paris Declaration-ownership, alignment, harmonization, result-oriented, and mutual accountability—I would like to emphasize the importance of the effectiveness of development assistance for developing countries.
I firmly believe that we will see improvements in the living standard of citizens only when all stakeholders in the social and economic sectors work together.
These stakeholders may come from the government, the general public, the private sector, civil society organizations ranging from local nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) to international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), and the international donor community.
While taking the driver’s seat, we will have to effectively utilize the development assistance we receive in ways that will help us achieve the millennium development goals and strengthen our relationship with our development partners so that this development partnership and assistance is continued into the future.
In order to ensure the effectiveness of the development assistance, we will institute a monitoring and evaluation mechanism. We will also try to make the development assistance more effective by regularly sharing information about our projects and the programs we are implementing with our development partners.
In striving to enhance economic growth, we will need to utilize the technological knowhow and resources we receive from the international community. At the same time, we will work hand in hand with our development partners to better serve the public.
The Nay Pyi Taw Accord was envisioned with this intention to ensure effective cooperation between the government and the development partners.
If we manage the development assistance, low interest or interest-free loans, and foreign direct investment properly, systematically, and transparently, the donors will be more encouraged to continue this partnership; we will be able to achieve our development goals, improve the standard of living of Myanmar citizens, and raise the capacity of human resources in the country. This will also help us undertake political reforms that are aimed at transforming the country into a modern, developed democracy.
Our government is formed by representatives from the general public. The government must, therefore, be a people centered government that pays attention to the interests, expectations and wishes of the people. The tasks the government will have to undertake include the development of the agricultural sector, the development of small rural manufacturing businesses and home industries, the development of micro-credit businesses, the development of rural cooperatives, and environmental protection. While focusing on improvements in productivity, job creation and income opportunities, we will also need to help people have better access to education, health care, social welfare, electricity, and telecommunication systems. In addition to improving the agricultural sector, we will also adopt and implement policies that are designed to create export-oriented manufacturing and industrial sectors. I am convinced that we will be able to implement these - policies more effectively and successfully if we work together and receive assistance from the international community.
It is worth nothing that peace and stability and socio-economic development go hand in hand. Only when the country is peaceful and stable, will we be able to work towards socioeconomic development in the country. Similarly, only when the country is socioeconomically developed, will the country be peaceful and stable. On the basis of the principle of unity in diversity, we will have to embrace our differences. While we work together on areas we agree on, we will patiently try to reconcile our differences until we find a common ground. We will work with concerted effort to achieve national reconciliation.
In order to ensure peace and stability in the country, we must engage in peace building activities together with all ethnic armed groups. My government will continue to do everything necessary to turn ceasefire agreements into lasting peace. It is very important to create job opportunities in order to improve socio-economic conditions of internally displaced people and ceasefire groups. We have established the Myanmar Peace Center in Yangon to undertake peace-building activities effectively. I would like to express our gratitude towards all donor countries and organizations that have contributed our peace building process.
I also want to take this opportunity to talk about peace negotiations with the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). I want to stress that we continue to try to achieve genuine peace in the country. We will start political dialogue with all Ten major ethnic armed groups that have concluded ceasefire agreements with the government in the near future. We have extended an invitation to KIO to join the peace meeting. I want to invite my colleagues from KIO to come to the peace meeting from here on again. I believe KIO will soon join us in the peace process. I have ordered the Tatmadaw and other relevant government agencies to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict. I want to note that KIO will need to reciprocate in a similar way.
We will also be undertaking census collection in 2014. This will be the first census we will be collecting in the last three decades. I would like to request our international partners to help us with the census collection in any way they can.
In conclusion, I would like to highlight the fact that this is the first time we are holding a forum like this in the last fifty years. I would like to express my gratitude to our development partners and representatives of international organizations and other distinguished guests who have participated in this forum in spite of their busy work schedule.
Since the forum will be focusing on the crucial reforms strategy and long term development plan of this country, I would like to encourage the development partners to make comments, give advice, and share their wealth of experience in the development field without any reservation. I am convinced that we will arrive at many useful ideas to assemble and implement our development plan and policies.
President U Thein Sein together with Vice-President Dr Sai Mauk Kham, ambassadors, resident representatives of UN agencies, delegates from ASEAN member countries, representatives from global donor countries, development partners and international organizations posed for documentary photos.
Present on the occasion were Vice-President Dr Sai Mauk Kham, Union ministers, MPs, deputy ministers, region/state ministers, departmental heads, representatives from donors countries across the world, development partners and international organizations and special guests.