UNCTAD, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) were represented during the 18-22 February mission.
Among other results, cooperation involving streamlined work by United Nations agencies was envisaged in order to help the country to prepare a Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) and to develop a joint action plan to link Myanmar more fully into the world trade system. To that end, meetings were held with the Ministry of Commerce, and the content of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) process was explained. It was agreed to implement an innovative inter-agency approach for the preparation of the DTIS, coordinated by UNDP. Assistance from ITC on a national export strategy will contribute to and complement the DTIS process.
The trip marked the Cluster's first inter-agency mission to Myanmar, and wide-ranging discussions were held with the Government on the country's assistance needs. Cluster officials also met business representatives in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw. The Government's focal point for the mission was the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.
In addition, meetings were held with representatives of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to plan cooperation, particularly through the EIF. The EIF is a multi-donor programme that helps least developed countries (LDCs) establish basic infrastructure and related economic ingredients so that they can participate effectively in the global trading system.
During the mission, a briefing for development partners was held at United Nations House in Yangon, on 22 February. It was attended by representatives of the European Union, Germany, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the United States, Japan and Italy.
The Cluster's consultations with the Government encompassed several areas of economic policymaking where the Cluster's agencies can combine their expertise and provide coordinated assistance - which is the purpose of the Cluster approach. The assistance envisaged for Myanmar covers such fields as multilateral and regional trade policies, the effective use of LDC support measures, industrial policies, support to small and medium-sized enterprises, tourism promotion, national infrastructure, agroindustry development, and energy efficiency.
It was determined that UNCTAD could provide expertise in policymaking, institutional capacity, and legislative issues related to competition and consumer protection. These issues were discussed with the Ministries of Commerce, Transport, and Hotels and Tourism.
A suggestion by ESCAP to organize an investment forum in Myanmar for September or October, with the cooperation of Cluster agencies, was well received. In addition, UNCTAD will undertake a mission in the week beginning 8 April, in coordination with ESCAP, with the aim of providing training on investment promotion, investment project screening, and project monitoring.
Based on the results of the consultations held during the February mission, the Cluster will, by the end of March, propose to the Government of Myanmar a joint action plan that will include the Enhanced Integrated Framework process as well as preparation of the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study.