Development assistance in Myanmar
Overview of Australia’s development partnership with Myanmar
- 2020-21 bilateral allocation [budget estimate]
- $42.1 million
- 2020-21 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]
- $91.0 million
- 2019-20 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]
- $84 million
Australia's development efforts are set out in Partnerships for Recovery: Australia's COVID-19 Development Response.
Myanmar is navigating multiple complex transitions: from military rule to a democratic government, from a closed to an open market economy and from conflict to peace. COVID-19 has amplified the challenges inherent in each of these transitions, as well as those presented by multiple humanitarian crises.
Around one third of Myanmar is affected by conflict. This drives population displacement and humanitarian need. Over one million people in Myanmar and on the Thai-Myanmar border need humanitarian assistance.
The COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating poverty and food insecurity. It is also placing pressure on the delivery of government services, especially in health and education. Australia quickly provided essential medical equipment directly into Myanmar's health system as the pandemic was developing. Economic impacts have fallen hardest on the tourism, transport and manufacturing sectors, where job growth had been strongest. Unemployment is rising, severely impacting women, youth and informal workers.
COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting women and girls who are now at greater risk of poverty, school dropout, early marriage and violence. Women make up the greater share of workers in vulnerable employment and in those sectors most directly hit by the crisis.
Australia's development assistance in Myanmar has pivoted to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and continues to pivot, as we work flexibly alongside Myanmar to respond to the needs presented by COVID-19 with an emphasis on accountability, coordination, effectiveness and gender equality.
By working principally through well-established funding mechanisms and partners, Australia is amplifying the impact of our investments and contributing to strong donor coordination that will be central to an effective COVID-19 recovery. We:
- work in partnership with Myanmar to catalyse reforms in education and economic policy;
- provide integrated health security support in Myanmar through regional and global initiatives;
- maintain a strong focus on finding durable solutions to humanitarian crises in Myanmar; and
- focus on inclusion in programming, ensuring women and girls, people with disability, ethnic minorities, internally displaced people (IDPs), at risk children, the unemployed and other minorities are central to our work.
Australia's development and humanitarian assistance complements our diplomatic engagement with the Government of Myanmar, ASEAN and other countries in the region.
Pillar 1: Health security
Australia is providing targeted support for Myanmar's COVID-19 response. We are working with the Government of the Union of Myanmar, the United Nations, the World Bank Group, civil society and the private sector to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce its impact on the people of Myanmar.
Further information on programs addressing Health security in Myanmar
Pillar 2: Stability
Supporting stability in Myanmar during and after COVID-19 is a complex, multidimensional and long-term endeavour. Australia's stability efforts encompass immediate assistance to conflict affected communities, fostering peace, supporting democracy and governance, bolstering social protection and building an inclusive, high-quality education system.
Further information on programs addressing Stability in Myanmar
Pillar 3: Economic recovery
To help Myanmar weather the economic fallout of COVID 19, Australia is assisting with critical economic reforms and is helping catalyse private sector activity. Australia is supporting institutional strengthening and public financial management reform through the World Bank, which is already increasing government revenues and improving accountability and transparency. Australia is developing new flexible, timely and gender sensitive support to the Government of Myanmar to underpin its economic transition and recovery.
Further information on programs addressing Economic recovery in Myanmar
Some key examples of Australian development to Myanmar in 2019-20 include:
- providing essential medical supplies to improve the quality of medical care, and protect frontline health workers across Myanmar including: 380,000 surgical masks; 2,500 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE); 20,000 examination gloves; patient monitors and intensive care beds;
- providing stipends to 58,722 disadvantaged students (47.2 per cent girls) to enable them to continue their education;
- delivering humanitarian assistance to 391,887 people (at least 44 per cent estimated to be women) in Rakhine, Kachin, northern Shan and on the Thai border;
- increasing access to finance for 172,374 vulnerable people, of whom 89 per cent are rural women; and
- supporting the Women's League of Burma and the Alliance for Gender Inclusion in the Peace Process to secure a commitment from government, ethnic armed groups and political parties to meet targets for women's leadership throughout the peace architecture.