The Myanmar study tour members participated in the Tree Planting Tour conducted by Nature Lovers and Myanmar-Japan Eco Tourism from 26th August to 1st September at Bagan, located in central Myanmar and 400 miles north of the capital Yangon.
On 23rd Aug, Myanmar study tour group and Professor Hasegawa visited IOM Yangon office and benefitted from a briefing given by Mr. Greg Irving. He explained the history of IOM involvement in Myanmar and their activities relating to migration health, emergency/recovery responses and migrant protection especially for trafficked persons.
According to him, IOM was assisting government to manage migration and also working closely with UNHCR and WHO. Nowadays a growing number of people migrate to Thailand legally or illegally. If adequately managed and the health of migrants protected, migration is not a problem, but rather a solution to the problem, if adequately managed and the health of migrants protected. In addition, Mr. Greg Irving said that migrants are travelling healthy. Migrants have very diverse groups. IOM needs to identify and address the specific vulnerabilities of each migrant. (Jieun Park)
On 23rd August, the Myanmar study tour group and Professor Hasegawa visited UNHCR Myanmar office. After the introducing UNHCR, Ms Rosalie Fournier, Associate Protection Offficer, pointed out the definitions of “a refugee,” “an internally displaced person” and “a stateless person”. Then, she explained UNHCR activities in Myanmar. In Myanmar there are 11 UNHCR offices and its partners are not only government but also other UN agencies, NGOs and civil society organizations. Their activities are divided 3 areas; Rakhine State, South East area and Kachine State. Especially in South East area and Kachine State where many landmines exist, UNHCR conducts land mine risk education and traning. Moreover UNHCR responds to emergency situations, for example Cyclone and severe flooding. (Mai Nakasendo)
On 21 August 2012, Professor Hasegawa, 2 graduate students, and 9 undergraduate students received a briefing at JICA Myanmar Office in Yangon. Messrs Sato and Danjyo kindly briefed us about JICA’s plan to provide assistance in education and agriculture, and to minority ethnic groups in Myanmar. Mr. Sato explained the status of technical assistance, grant aid and loans provided by Japan. He also mentioned that Japan would receive trainees in the fields of sports, health, farming, and IT. Mr. Danjyo told us about the need to change child education system. It is important for Myanmar to have an ownership towards the child-centered education. It is difficult and important to change the mentality of children in education. Finally, Mr. Sato mentioned the technical and financial assistance provided for removing landmines in ethnic minority states such as Kachin State. (Eri Iijima)
On August 24, 2012, our Myanmar team received an informative briefing from the officers at UNDP office in Yangon.
UNDP has been working in Myanmar since 1994 and providing assistance directly to people without going through the government. Their programme will now consist of projects in three areas. The first is the integrated community development programme (ICDP), with focus on the social rehabilitation, micro-finance, community development and HIV/AIDs. Especially, the social rehabilitation and micro-finance projects are significant for their cooperation with UNDCL. The second programme addresses grwoing environmental problems in Myanmar. Regarding the climate change. UNDP is trying to build a link with communities from the great damage of the huge cyclone in 2008 brought and is providing technical assistance to them because there is no proper assessment made in Myanmar. Secondary, UNDP is addressing the energy problem considering the environmental and development implications. Also they aim to develop an environmental assessment methodology. Lastly, UNDP is supporting capacity building for democratic governance with respect to the government of Myanmar. Thanks to the comprehensive and informative lecture, we learned that UNDP is playing an important role in helping Myanmar in its rehabilitation and development. (Yuka Narikawa)
On 24th August 2012, four Hasegawa seminar students visited OISCA in Yangon City, Myanmar. OISCA has started its activity in Yesagyo District to start up agricultural development project in a central-dry zone in response to call from UNDP. Japanese technical experts have been sent since March 1996 after the conclusion of contact with Ministry of the national plan economic development. Ms. Yuko Saito explained about OISCA’s four activities: training human resource, environment conservation, supporting development of agriculture and developing community at agricultural training center with showing the students pictures of the activities. (Sayaka Yatabe)
On 25th August, the Hosei study group met with U Thu Wai, Chairman of the Democratic Party, Dr. Than Nyein and Dr. Win Naing of the National Democratic Force and U Myo Nyunt of the Democratic & Peace Party.
They explained the current political situation in Myanmar and confirmed that a real change was taking place. President Thein Sein wans implementing a number of political reform measures such as freedom of press and foreign investment. They also explained about changes proposed in the electoral law in order to achieved proportional representation. Concerning the economy, they informed the student that the government would like to introduce a free market economic system, including Myanmar and foreign joint investment and business ventures. According to U Myo Nyunt, the government and minority ethnic rebel groups were reaching peace agreements. Ms. Kameyama asked if any of the political parties was bringing up the young generation into their leadership positions. Dr. Than Nyein responded and agreed to the necessity to give more opportunities to young people.(Kotaro Takahashi)
On 24th Aug 2012, the Myanmar study tour group and Professor Hasegawa visited UNICEF Yangon office, and had an unforgettable briefing by Mr. Ramesh Shrestha, who is the representative of UNICEF Yangon. Mr. Ramesh Shrestha started his lecture by introducing recent transition of measures such as Media law, Labor law, and so on. In particular, he explained how the relationship between government and armed groups had been changed. Then, he talked about the economic situation of Myanmar. Some countries like South Korea and China have started to invest in Myanmar because there are natural resources. However, there are three issues. First, electricity supply is not adequate for business. Second, investment law has some problems. Third, infrastructure hasn’t been prepared. Furthermore, he explained UN position. UNICEF is working for providing basic human needs to people. They are constructing primary schools, providing stationary supplies. In addition, they are providing people with access to safe drinking water. After his lecture, he responded to some questions and comments from the students. (Shohei Suzuki)
On 24th Aug 2012, the Myanmar study tour group visited UNODC Myanmar office and received an informative lecture by Mr. Jason Eligh, the UNODC country manager. UNODC was established to deal with 4 area issues; Drugs, Crime, Corruption and Terrorism. Myanmar is the second largest opium poppy grower country next to Afghanistan, accounting for 23 percent of the opium poppy cultivation worldwide in 2011.
The Myanmar government also recognizes the serious drug problem. UNODC Myanmar office has been assisting the Myanmar government in eradicating opium poppy production. With the aim of it, UNODC started 3 new projects in Shan State from 2011: Alternative development, Sustainable livelihoods and Food security. UNODC also cooperates with local NGOs, civil society organizations and other UN agencies such as World Food Programme. (Mai Nakasendo)
On 23rd August, the Hosei University group met with Messrs. Nishikuramori and Watanabe. Mr. Nishikuramori analyzed in detail the content of political reform carried out by President Thein Sein and how the democratization process was proceeding. He also explained the critical role played by Aung San Suu Kyi as a member of the parliament. Secondly, Mr. Watanabe pointed out a great deal of risk which foreign companies would encounter when they engage in business in Myanmar. Only few Japanese firms had started their productive activities. There are many challenges for any company to undertake business in Myanmar. (Yuna Kodatsu)
On 22nd Aug 2012, the Myanmar study tour group and Professor Hasegawa visited JETRO Yangon office, and had beneficial time by getting receiving a briefing from Mr. Tetsu Yamaguchi, the Senior Adviser of JETRO Yangon. First of all, Mr. Yamaguchi informed us about his extensive experience in the field of trade, commerce and investment banking. He then explained the overall economic and political situation of Myanmar. Nowadays Myanmar is getting attention from all over the world due to its untouched natural resources such as natural gas and petroleum compared to the other East Asian countries. Myanmar is having difficulty in providing electricity to the general public. Mr. Yamaguchi pointed out that to increase the source of electrical power in Myanmar will be the key factor for the encouragement of foreign business expansion in Myanmar as well as for the development of Myanmar itself. In addition, Mr. Yamaguchi explained the education system in Myanmar especially about its high literacy level of English among non-English speaking East Asian countries due to their opportunity to study in monastery. Finally, he mentioned that the presidential election in 2015 has an enormous impact on the future of Myanmar. After the conclusion of his presentation, he responded to questions and comments from the students. (Jieun Park)