Myanmar & ESCAP Forge Framework for Public Private Partnerships
Following recent positive developments in Myanmar, the top United Nations Asia-Pacific official met with the President of Myanmar, H.E. U Thein Sein, at the outset of a two-day Government of Myanmar-ESCAP forum that will discuss the development of public private partnerships in responding to Myanmar’s development challenges.
During her meeting with the President, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, noted the important role investment can play in supporting the President's reform agenda and Myanmar's social and economic development goals. She urged the Government to engage its private sector and civil society partners in developing a common framework to ensure that investment is supportive of development, especially in targeting job creation, improving the skill level of the country's work-force, expanding physical and social infrastructure, and committing to sustainable natural resource management.
Acknowledging the importance of these issues to the Government of Myanmar, the President stated that the country needs “private sector investment to contribute to national development and inclusive growth.” He further affirmed the hope that “ESCAP will continue to be a trusted partner and help develop a framework for public private partnerships for development in Myanmar.”
The Government of Myanmar-ESCAP Workshop on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for Development in Myanmar was opened today by H.E. U Soe Thein, Minister of Industry of Myanmar, U Win Aung, President of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries, and Dr. Heyzer. Participants at the meeting included representatives from ten Government ministries, and more than 130 representatives of the private sector in Yangon. The event will focus on the infrastructure sector and will be the first in a series of Government of Myanmar-ESCAP meetings on Public Private Partnerships for Development in Myanmar.
“Myanmar is experiencing a new beginning that is generating an unprecedented sense of hope for a future where opportunities are created for all, including the poorest and most marginalized segments of the population,” Dr. Heyzer said. “Seizing these opportunities, however, requires an open dialogue between all stakeholders, including civil society, to agree on joint objectives, promote cooperation and build trust. We hope that this workshop will help Myanmar's public and private sectors to respect and build on each others strengths, learn a common language of investment partnership, and create a new environment to achieve key development goals.”
In his remarks, H.E. U Soe Thein, Minister of Industry of Myanmar called for the establishment of dedicated “PPP cells that would act as centres of expertise and technical support in areas such as finance, law, engineering and planning.” While U Win Aung, President of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries, recalled how the public and private sectors had already cooperated in the country’s “rehabilitation efforts and reconstruction of the areas devastated when Cyclone Nargis struck the country.”
Participants at the workshop will use ESCAP’s ‘Public Private Partnership-readiness assessment’ tool for assessing Myanmar’s current capacity for such engagement. This entails a survey and analysis of ten distinct indicators including the existing financial, legal and governance systems, regulatory frameworks, and specific capacity of authorities to support such partnerships.
Speaking about possible future developments, Dr. Heyzer offered to convene a special session of ESCAP's Asia-Pacific Business Forum when the international community is ready to lift restrictions on investment in Myanmar.
Dr. Heyzer's participation in the initiative follows her facilitation in 2009 of a development forum in Myanmar with Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, and a policy conference held in July 2011 in Nay Pyi Taw, which identified the importance of private sector engagement, especially through successful models like public private partnerships, in responding to development challenges in Myanmar.
From its HQ in Bangkok, ESCAP provides a forum for its member States that promotes regional cooperation and collective action, assisting countries in building and sustaining shared economic growth and social equity.
ESCAP provides different forms of assistance to member States:
- ESCAP promotes rigorous analysis and peer learning through our core workareas: macroeconomic policy and development, trade and investment, social development, transport, statistics, environment and development, information communications technology and disaster risk reduction;
- ESCAP translates these findings into policy dialogues and recommendations, and;
- ESCAP provides good development practices, knowledge sharing and technical assistance to member States in the implementation of these recommendations.