NAY PYI TAW, 27 May 2019 – ASEAN and the Myanmar government agreed to immediately commence practical measures to alleviate the situation in Rakhine State following a high-level coordination meeting today in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Executive Director of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Management (AHA Centre) Adelina Kamal, and ASEAN delegation attended the 2nd High-Level Strategic Coordination Meeting with high-ranking officials of key ministries of Myanmar and Rakhine State.

They discussed the recommendations of the Preliminary Needs Assessment (PNA) and the plan for the Comprehensive Needs Assessment to facilitate the repatriation of displaced persons in Rakhine State. The meeting agreed to immediately implement a number of “low-hanging fruits” identified in the report, namely, to undertake in-country capacity building programme for ASEAN-Emergency Response and Assessment Team based in Myanmar to support the repatriation process when it commences; and to establish a technical working group, comprising representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat, the AHA Centre, the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine, the Department of Disaster Management, and other relevant Myanmar officials and experts, to discuss the detailed modalities of implementation of recommendations on the potential areas of collaboration identified in the PNA Report in Rakhine.

These practical measures would contribute to creating conducive environment to pave the way for the repatriation. The meeting also endorsed the PNA Report and agreed for a wider circulation of the report to better profile ASEAN’s role in supporting the Government of Myanmar.

This meeting followed the 1st High-Level Strategic Coordination Meeting in December 2018 which charted out concrete actions to conduct the needs assessment exercise in light of the ASEAN Leaders’ call in November 2018 for ASEAN’s role in facilitating the repatriation of displaced communities in Rakhine State. This complements ASEAN countries’ assistance to the Government of Myanmar and the displaced persons of Rakhine at the bilateral level, both cash and in-kind, including provision of humanitarian assistance and basic services, such as health, education, technical assistance, and livelihood assistance.

On the sideline of the high-level coordination meeting, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre, and delegation called on Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. She was updated on the progress of the Needs Assessment and the ways forward. The ASEAN Secretary-General also called on the Union Minister for International Cooperation Kyaw Tin earlier in the morning.

A day prior, the delegation visited Rakhine State to meet with the Rakhine State Government and the UEHRD and visited a school donated by the Indonesian government in Sittwe Township.

***