Support to ethnic armed organisations’ Economic Working Committee for peace negotiations

  • Sustainable peace arrangements should be built upon sound economic principles.
  • This project supported those groups who have so far signed up to Myanmar’s National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) to identify common economic issues throughout the country’s regions, and how they can best be addressed by both national and regional governments.
  • For such an ethnically diverse country, authority in Myanmar remains highly centralised. Decentralisation of administrative power to sub-national governments emerged as a key aspect of future economic governance in Myanmar. 

Increasing attention is now being given to the importance of addressing economic issues in peace agreements, as this can help to address the root causes of conflict and lay a foundation for future prosperity. Conversely, if economic issues are not adequately addressed during a country’s peace process, this can create instability and drive a return to conflict.

Myanmar’s peace arrangement is both new and precarious. In 2015, the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) was signed by the government of Myanmar and a number of ethnic armed organisations (EAOs). However, the NCA is still yet to be signed by many key EAOs due to the perception that the peace deal is unfair. Nevertheless, those already part of the NCA can help bolster the deal’s effectiveness in ensuring future peace and prosperity by establishing a firm economic framework for Myanmar’s diverse regions

This project supported current negotiations under the NCA by analysing the main economic issues facing the diverse regions of Myanmar, and identifying common approaches that could help address them. Follow-up support was also provided to the eight EAOs so far signed up to the agreement in developing negotiating positions based on sound economic policy.

A key message that emerges out of this project is that the process of fiscal decentralisation in Myanmar that started in 2011 needs to go further. Among other areas, natural resource management and the establishment of locally-sensitive land and property rights could be better managed at the regional level.

By helping EAOs define a clear vision for what decentralisation, and eventually federalism, could achieve in Myanmar, it is hoped that their ongoing negotiations with the central government can be more transparent and lead to a more sustainable and wide-reaching peace settlement.

Outputs