Photo credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten

Myanmar is on track to graduate from its Least Developed Country (LDC) status by 2025. As one of two remaining LDCs in the Association of South East Asian Nations (the other being Laos), what progress has Myanmar made in the realm of development effectiveness (DE)?

Working towards Development Effectiveness (DE) – the idea of bringing as many relevant partners around the table to use resources as effectively as possible –  is high on Myanmar’s priorities this year with the development and launch of new policies, plans and frameworks towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

One such initiative is the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP), the draft of which was presented at the Development Effectiveness Roundtable in February 2018, followed by a consultation process on the plan with INGOs, civil society organisations, development partners and the private sector.

With 3 pillars, 5 goals, 28 strategies and over 250 action plans, the MSDP faciliates local developmental needs and the global sustainable development agenda by aligning MSDP action plans with global SDG targets.

Looking back, Myanmar’s commitment to DE began in 2013. For the first time, the Government of Myanmar set forth principles on development effectiveness with the 2013 Nay Pyi Taw Accord for Effective Development Co-operation, a country-level localization of established development co-operation principles. The Nay Pyi Taw Accord’s commitments, informed by aid effectiveness principles have been operationalized through annual action plans. To this end, government and development stakeholders met annually at the Myanmar Development Co-operation Forum (MDCF) three years in a row from 2013-2015, and through the Development Effectiveness Roundtable in Feburary 2018.

The aid effectiveness agenda has also now been strengthened with the establishment of the Development Assistance Co-ordination Unit (DACU) in 2016. This was followed by a new Myanmar Development Assistance Policy (DAP) in 2018, a national-level policy which provides an overarching framework to guide the delivery of development assistance, highlights areas for priority investment and seeks to strengthen effective and inclusive partnerships in development. The Government of Myanmar also established 10 Sector Co-ordination Groups (SCGs) along with other co-ordination bodies (on peace process funding; and the rule of law and justice sector) to support alignment of development assistance with strategic sector and issue priorities.

Financing of these plans remains central to the efforts of the government and development partners, and to this end, the Government has also partnered with UNDP on the development of a Development Finance Assessment, outlining key building blocks in Myanmar’s development financing landscape.

Myanmar also continues its commitment to promote inclusive and transparent assistance. Building on Myanmar’s formal endorsement of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) in 2014, the country uses an IATI compliant, publicly accessible, Aid Information Management System (AIMS), known as ‘Mohinga’ which enables the government to share information on development finance flows with a wider range of development stakeholders, public and private, within the region and beyond.

Engaging for the first time in 2016 and again in 2018, Myanmar participates in the monitoring exercises of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC), measuring the country’s progress against the effectiveness principles as agreed to at the 2011 Busan Forum.

GPEDC monitoring, AIMS, DACU, DAP, SCGs, MSDP, DFA – these plans and co-ordination structures show that Myanmar’s government and stakeholders are taking aid effectiveness seriously to ensure that resources are used as efficiently as possible to tackle the country’s challenges, achieve the SDGs and eventually ensure that no one is left behind.