Organized by the Ministry of Planning and Finance with UNICEF support, the high level conference “New Vision, New Results for Children in Myanmar” gathered Ministers with key responsibilities for child-related issues – Education, Health and Sports, Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, and Home Affairs – as well as parliamentarians, NGOs, development partners and youth.
Participants analysed a fresh set of data on children in the country and discussed necessary policies and plans, many of which are already in the making.
“The new government is committed to improving the lives of children as a key national development priority, and this conference is a concrete step in this regard.
Myanmar will focus on the implementation of SDGs through the strengthening of a statistical platform by a well-functioning M&E system to evaluate the progress. We will discuss a new national vision for children and define key priority results”, says U Kyaw Win, Minister of Planning and Finance”
Recent surveys and studies, such as the preliminary results of the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and the 2014 Census, are generating new data and analyses that are key to understanding the situation of children. These are some examples:
• In Myanmar, despite making up 34 per cent of the population, children represent over half of Myanmar’s poor
• Between 100 and 150 children under 5 die every day
• Nearly 30 per cent of children do not have access to clean drinking water sources while almost 20% do not have any toilets.
• 3.6 million children were out of school at the time of the census – almost 25 per cent of the school-aged population
• More than 1.2 million children aged 5-17 are working, and on average they work 52 hours per week
The discussions were framed within the Sustainable Development Goals and the more than 120 child-related indicators adopted by the international community in 2015.
“With a new committed administration, a new budget in preparation, recently available sets of data, newly developed plans and policies, and the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and related indicators, Myanmar now has all elements to deliver new results for its children. It is the right time to act”, says Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF Representative
to Myanmar. ”
Throughout the one and a half day conference, the participants focused on four key priority areas, namely: ensuring the best start in life for every child (which includes access to birth registration, early childhood care and nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene, and universal cash transfers); meeting the right to quality education for every child; protecting children from violence, trafficking and exploitation, as well as children in contact with the law;
and reducing children’s vulnerabilities to external shocks and poverty.
Participants also emphasised the need to build an environment that is conducive to the realisation of children’s
rights in Myanmar, by prioritising children in the national peace dialogue and in budgets, developing new indicators to track progress, and building partnerships with civil society organisations, parliaments, development partners, and children and adolescents.
“Formulating a new vision and new results for all of its children today, is the surest way for Myanmar to adopt a
model of development that can be sustained tomorrow”, concludes Bertrand Bainvel.