Monday, March 18, 2013

UN calls for transparency in aid to Myanmar

Monday, 18 March 2013 18:18 Rosie Gogan-Keogh

The head of a UN delegation to Myanmar has said that he is greatly encouraged by the country's reforms but stressed that transparency is needed in the area of foreign aid in Myanmar.

Ambassador Antonino Marques Porto e Santos and other UN representatives speak at a press conference at Yangon's Inya Lake Hotel on March 18, 2013. (PHOTO: Mizzima)

The comments came at a press conference held in Yangon's Inya Lake Hotel at the end of a 10-day visit to the country with representatives of various UN programmes, including UNICEF and WFP, from 21 member states.

"We welcome the changes and wish to invite the positive effects of social inclusion," said Ambassador Antonino Marques Porto e Santos, the permanent representative of Brazil to the UN.

Criticism has arisen recently that the huge amount of aid flooding the country from more than 100 official organizations and NGOs could be doing more harm than good in some areas.

Problems such as corruption, officials spending too much time in meetings with delegates, competition amongst donors and misallocation of funds have all been highlighted by analysts.

When questioned on the matter of corruption in the area of foreign aid, Porto e Santos said that one of the UN's missions is to try and see where international aid coordination may or may not be failing.

"We are here to encourage international organizations operating in the country to coordinate with the government and to promote transparency," he continued.

The delegation visited Yangon, Naypyitaw, Central Myanmar, Rakhine State and Shan State and met with many high ranking politicians including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during the trip.

Following their visit to Rakhine State, the delegation echoed calls for IDP camps to be urgently relocated before the rainy season hits and called for profound peace and reconciliation in the region.
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