Myanmar is one of 14 priority countries for Denmark’s development cooperation
For decades Denmark supported the democratic forces in Myanmar and provided humanitarian assistance to the many refugees and internally displaced people in the border areas. By making Myanmar a priority country for Danish development cooperation and opening an Embassy on 1 August 2014, Denmark has confirmed its support to Myanmar’s ongoing ambitious and long-term transition process. At the same time, Denmark is continuing its humanitarian support in conflict areas as needed.
Part of the new long-term Danish partnership with Myanmar is a more active political dialogue both bilaterally and together with the EU and other development partners. The ongoing transition in Myanmar also holds promise for much stronger commercial cooperation between Denmark and Myanmar in the years to come.
Through the partnership Denmark aims at supporting the government and people of Myanmar in implementing their own priorities and plans. At the same time, Denmark will work in close coordination with other relevant partners, including international partners.
Denmark’s cooperation with Myanmar
Denmark has had an active policy towards Myanmar based in the late 1990’s on primarily humanitarian aid for refugees and support for the exile community within the limits of EU sanctions that were suspended in 2012 and lifted in 2013 except for the continued arms embargo. Furthermore, from 1977 to 1982 Denmark provided a number of state loans to Myanmar amounting to some USD 140 million to support the fisheries sector. In 2013, the Danish government decided to give a complete debt relief as part of a larger debt write-off through the Paris Club, which helped clear the way for renewed multilateral engagement in Myanmar for both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
Since 2006, Denmark has provided around USD 100 million in development assistance and humanitarian support in Myanmar and to refugees in neighbouring countries. This support focused on democratization, good governance and human rights, health, education and livelihoods. In all areas, Denmark’s engagement has focused on creating the foundations for sustainable and equitable growth while promoting human rights, including for marginalized groups and women, and on empowering the population to create changes for themselves.
Substantial humanitarian assistance has for years been provided to refugees and internally displaced people in the border area between Myanmar and Thailand. Following the escalation of conflicts in both Rakhine and Kachin states in the past few years, more humanitarian resources have been directed to these areas through support to both international NGOs and UN agencies. Denmark expects to continue providing humanitarian assistance in the foreseeable future, with a particular focus on protection and sustainable solutions.
Denmark’s development assistance to Myanmar has previously been implemented through NGOs, multi-donor funds and multilateral organizations in parallel with government systems due to sanctions towards Myanmar. As a result of the lifting of sanctions in 2013, Denmark together with other development partners are now engaging more actively with the Myanmar government to ensure aid effectiveness, national ownership and sustainability.
Through its support to Myanmar, Denmark has played a catalytic role in liberalizing the media sector, strengthening civil society’s ability to address human rights issues, improving basic education, providing livelihood options for the rural poor, and working towards accomplishing the education and health related Millennium Development Goals as well as humanitarian relief operations.
A number of Danish NGOs are supported through Denmark’s development assistance, such as the Danish Refugee Council, Danish Church Aid, International Media Support, Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke/ActionAid, DanMission, Danish Red Cross and the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy.
Read more about Denmark's support to Myanmar’s development here.