British humanitarian assistance
|Title:|| ||Mark My Words
|Date of publication:|| ||February 2009|
|Description/subject:|| ||"British ambassador to Burma, Mark Canning, talks to The Irrawaddy about the role of the UN and Asean in Burma, the Cyclone Nargis relief effort and his expectations for the election in 2010..."|
|Source/publisher:|| ||"The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 1|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||16 February 2009|
|Title:|| ||Tenth Report of the Select Committee on International Development
|Date of publication:|| ||18 July 2007|
"One of the most shocking aspects of Burma's political and humanitarian crisis is the forced displacement of its own people. This crisis-stricken country, which suffers from immense poverty and pernicious human rights abuses, receives the lowest aid of all Least Developed Countries. We believe that this level of assistance is unacceptable and that international donors must find ways to increase funding to the growing numbers of very vulnerable people. In particular we believe that UK aid to Burma should be scaled up substantially, in addition to the existing planned increases in funding, given the UK's prominence in this area.
Funding aid work in Burma is fraught with difficulties, but aid can be effectively targeted and implemented, and constraints addressed, if there is sufficient commitment by donors. DFID has quadrupled its budget for Burma over the last six years, from £2.3 million to £8.8 million, and should quadruple its overall aid budget to Burma again by 2013.
As one of only four donors with a staffed office in Burma, DFID is in a leading position to assist Burmese Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and refugees. DFID's support to community-based organisations is particularly important in developing locally 'owned' responses to displacement, and this should be increased.
The UK's expansion of aid for Burma should include specific funding for cross-border assistance. Whilst providing aid in this way is far from ideal in terms of neutrality or safety, it is the only way to reach very vulnerable IDPs located throughout Burma's conflict border zones, including those areas that border Thailand.
DFID's plans fully to relocate management of its Burma programme from Bangkok to Rangoon will impair its work. We believe that, in order to work independently of the Burmese regime, to fulfil a co-ordination role, to support non-governmental organisations (NGOs) based in Thailand and to engage with cross-border and refugee assistance on the Thai-Burma border, at least two senior, full-time members of DFID staff should be retained within the Bangkok Embassy.
An urgent priority is assessing where IDP needs are most critical. DFID needs to support the UN in carrying out a mapping exercise of gaps in the aid provided to IDPs. It should communicate better about its own programmes of support, and promote information-sharing and the development of robust co-ordination mechanisms.
DFID must be a more visible presence at the Thai-Burma border and must engage far more with refugees' needs. The UK Government should step up negotiations with the Royal Thai Government (RTG) on education and employment opportunities for refugees, and with the RTG and third countries on resettlement policies."|
|Source/publisher:|| ||(UK) Select Committee on International Development|
|Alternate URLs:|| ||http://www.dfid.gov.uk/pubs/files/burma-idp-response.pdf|
|Date of entry/update:|| ||06 July 2008|