Foreword by the Humanitarian Coordinator
The present Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) seeks to mobilize assistance for close to 945,000 people in 2021, in support of the efforts of the Government of Myanmar to aid those affected by humanitarian crises and challenges in different parts of the country. As has been the case for previous years, the HRP places protection at the centre of an inclusive response tailored to the particular needs of the most vulnerable women and men, girls and boys.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 further demonstrated the critical importance of localization in Myanmar. In 2021, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) will build on the partnerships with national NGOs and local civil society actors that were strengthened as we adjusted to new operational realities in 2020. We will redouble our efforts to put in place robust channels for systematic two-way dialogue and engagement with affected people, and to capitalize on innovations around cash and voucher assistance to further extend our reach.
Humanitarian partners remain committed to contributing to the achievement of durable solutions for displaced people. The National Strategy on Resettlement of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and Closure of IDP Camps provides a key entry point in this regard. Progress on implementation of the Strategy in 2020 was slowed down by COVID-19 but new opportunities are emerging. Our efforts in this regard in 2021 will seek to create new links across the humanitarian-development nexus, while remaining firmly anchored in the perspectives and concerns of displaced people themselves. In Rakhine, the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State will continue to be an important reference point for engagement between humanitarian organizations and the Government of Myanmar.
Our dialogue with the authorities will continue to emphasize the importance of humanitarian access, so that needs can be fully assessed and analyzed, humanitarian activities can be prioritized on the basis of those needs, and the impact of our efforts can be effectively monitored. The Myanmar HCT remains committed to working in accordance with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and without any adverse distinction based on region, ethnicity, religion or citizenship status.
The financial support of donors for this HRP remains critical. On behalf of the broader humanitarian community, I would like to emphasize our sincere appreciation for the sustained, generous support provided by a diverse group of donors for humanitarian action in Myanmar. We hope to be able to continue to rely on the shared sense of urgency and spirit of partnership that lie behind this as we seek to mobilize the $276 million required for the 2021 HRP.
We look to 2021 with a clear understanding of the challenges that lie ahead, but with optimism that these challenges can be addressed, as Myanmar continues on its path of political, economic and social change.
Ola Almgren United Nations Resident Coordinator Humanitarian Coordinator
Response Plan Overview
Myanmar continues to grapple with deeply rooted humanitarian challenges. The escalation of conflict in Rakhine and southern Chin states in 2020 has resulted in further civilian casualties, displacement, and disruption of essential systems and services.
More than 336,000 people have been displaced from their homes in different parts of the country, of whom some 250,000 are in situations of protracted displacement. An estimated 600,000 Rohingya1 who remain in Rakhine State, of whom some 126,000 are effectively confined to camps or camp-like settings established in 2012, continue to be unable to move freely. The expanding impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has further complicated the lives of people in humanitarian settings. In total, approximately 1 million people have been identified as being in need of humanitarian assistance.
The Myanmar Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) recognizes the primary role of the Government of Myanmar in the initiation, organization, coordination, and implementation of humanitarian assistance within the country, and its responsibility to respond to needs. Humanitarian organizations remain fully committed to working with government partners at all levels.
The 2021 Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) has been developed under the leadership of the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC), to support the government-led response to needs, on the basis on the 2021 Myanmar Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO). It provides a framework for coordinated, needsbased and prioritized humanitarian action in Myanmar in 2021. Its overarching goal is to ensure that the health and wellbeing of people affected by conflict or disasters in targeted locations is improved, that minimum living standards are ensured, that durable solutions in line with international standards are supported wherever feasible, and that respect for the rights of affected people is enhanced.
To achieve this, the HCT has agreed on the following strategic objectives for humanitarian action in 2021:
(1) The overall health and wellbeing of 942,800 people affected by conflict or disasters in targeted locations is improved and enjoyment of their rights is enhanced in 2021; and (2) Living standards of 886,000 people affected by conflict or disasters in targeted locations are improved and their resilience is strengthened in 2021.
Geographically, this HRP focuses on Kachin, northern Shan, Rakhine, southern Chin and Kayin states, and parts of eastern Bago Region, where humanitarian needs are currently most acute and urgent. Targeted population groups include internally displaced people (IDPs); recently returned, resettled or locally integrated IDPs; non-displaced stateless people (in Rakhine State); and other vulnerable, crisis-affected people (including within host communities). Under the framework of the HRP, humanitarian organizations will require some US$276.5 million to provide relief assistance and protection services to approximately 944,000 people until the end of 2021.
This HRP prioritizes the provision of life-saving assistance and protection for the most vulnerable crisis-affected women, men, boys and girls, and programmes to ensure equitable access to essential humanitarian services, without discrimination. It provides for targeted preventative and response activities relating to COVID-19 in humanitarian settings. It seeks to contribute to durable solutions to internal displacement in line with international standards. It also seeks to strengthen the resilience of communities and contribute to efforts to address vulnerabilities and underlying structural issues, in partnership with development and peacebuilding partners. The HRP includes activities to build national and local capacities to prepare for and respond to natural hazards and other emergencies in targeted locations. Dialogue with the Government of Myanmar on strengthening emergency response preparedness will continue. In the event of a large-scale natural disaster, the HCT will review and, where required, revise the scope of the response in consultation with the Government of Myanmar and other partners.
The HCT recognizes that humanitarian action is a critical component of a broader, longer-term engagement that is needed to address a range of humanitarian, development, human rights and peacebuilding challenges in Myanmar. To this end, this HRP aims to complement other relevant strategies and frameworks including the UN COVID-19 Country Preparedness and Response Plan (CPRP) and the UN Socio-Economic Response Framework to COVID-19 (SERF). Alongside the 2021 HRP, which incorporates COVID-19 response priorities in humanitarian settings, these plans provide for comprehensive international support for the whole-of-country and whole-ofsystem response to COVID-19 that is being led by the Government of Myanmar.
This HRP also seeks to support relevant government plans such as the National Strategy on Resettlement of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and Closure of IDP Camps, the Multi-Sectoral National Plan of Action for Nutrition, the Ministry of Education’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Framework and the Action Plan on COVID-19 in IDP Camps developed by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement. In addition, the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in June 2018 between the Government of Myanmar, UNDP and UNHCR, which has been extended until June 2021, aims to support the Government’s efforts to establish conditions for the voluntary, safe and dignified and sustainable repatriation of refugees from Bangladesh, and strengthening resilience and livelihoods for all communities living in Rakhine State.
In all aspects of its work, the HCT is committed to ensuring that humanitarian action in Myanmar is carried out in accordance with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.