The Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok, with its section office in Yangon, handles both the regional development cooperation in Asia, with focus on Southeast Asia, and the bilateral development cooperation with Myanmar.
Regional Development Cooperation:
The regional programme is guided by a “Strategy for Sweden's Regional Development Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific Region 2016-2021”. The thematic areas for the regional strategy are environment and climate, energy, urban planning, democracy and human rights.
The goal of the Swedish Regional Development Cooperation is sustainable development in Asia through mutual interactions between human rights, democracy, equality, Environment and climate. Implementation of the strategy entails collaboration with around 30 regional organisations.
Most are international non-governmental organisations and networks but there are also collaboration with intrastate organisations, universities (research), different UN-organisations, Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and Swedish governmental authorities. Private sector partners participate in some of the projects. Some of the programmes involve cooperation with ASEAN. The Embassy also provide support for regional research collaboration.
The programs our partners implement cover different geographical areas. The geographical focus for the strategy is South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Region but most countries in Asia are represented in the different programs. In all programmes and projects the Swedish government’s thematic priorities for development cooperation are incorporated; environment and climate, democracy and human rights; and gender equality and women´s role in development.
Development Cooperation in Myanmar:
The bilateral programme in relation to Myanmar is guided by the “Results Strategy for Sweden’s International Development Cooperation in Myanmar 2013–2017”.
The target groups are mainly women and ethnic minorities and the result areas for the strategy are i) Increased respect for human rights, freedom of expression and accountability, ii) Broad participation in peace processes and iii) Improved health for women and children, focusing particularly on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The goal is to contribute to a peaceful and democratic development, as well as reducing poverty in all its dimensions in Myanmar. Gender equality and the role of women in all aspects of development is a persistent theme throughout the programme.
Based on the experience from previous support, civil society development, media development and maternal and child health are salient features of the programme. As the peace processes have gained momentum, more conflict sensitive peace related support is being provided. Many of these contributions are designed to build trust between the government and ethnic groups, as well as between different ethnic groups.
The bilateral development cooperation is provided through multilateral channels, joint donor funds and international and local civil society organisations. Limitations remain for direct support to the government. A conflict-sensitive approach is guiding all of Sweden’s development assistance so as to improve the chances of lasting peace.
Sweden is actively participating in and encouraging various coordination mechanisms to reduce the risk of fragmentation. This is particularly important because many development partners have been establishing themselves in the country in a short period of time, while public administration remains weak.
In parallel with the development cooperation, Sweden is providing significant humanitarian support to Myanmar. In 2013 and 2014 amounted to about SEK 113 million and SEK 90 million respectively (including the support to the refugees in Thailand and Bangladesh).
The focus has in recent years been to address the consequences of natural disasters (cyclones Nargis and Giri) as well as protracted and emergency operations in relation to on-going armed conflict and violence (Rakhine State, South Eastern Myanmar, Kachin/Northern Shan states). Implementing partners have included amongst others the Boarder Consortium through Diakonia, various UN-agencies and international NGO’s.