Without rule of law, inclusive and sustainable development cannot be achieved, a panel discussion organized at the University of Yangon highlighted yesterday.
The discussion on the Rule of Law and Sustainable Development was organized as part of a series of events to mark the 71st Anniversary of the United Nations. Speakers included the Director General of the International Development Law Organisation, Irene Khan, the Bago Region Minister of Natural Resources, Forest and Environmental Conservation, H.E. U Kyaw Min San, the National Advisor of Gender Equality Network, Pansy TunThein and the Executive Director of Equality Myanmar, Aung Myo Min. The discussion was moderated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director Peter Batchelor.
“The 2030 Development Agenda is a game-changer because it puts the rule of law at the center of development. Through the Rule of Law Centers, IDLO and UNDP contribute towards making the principles of equality and equal protection of the law real for the people of Myanmar,” said Irene Khan, Director-General of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO).
The 2030 Agenda comprises a set of 17 interconnected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).With these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind. While SDG 16 focuses on peace, justice and strong institutions, the panel heard that it has relevance for all the other SDGs.
Highlighting the importance of SDG 16, H E U Kyaw Min San, Bago Region Minister of Natural Resources, Forest and Environmental Conservation said, “Myanmar needs strong institutions to ensure that rule of law improves the lives of ordinary people.”
Pansy Tun Thein, the National Advisor of Gender Equality Network said the SDGs were about leaving no on behind.
“Change for women in Myanmar is very much needed and the change needs to take place now. Myanmar has only 13.6% women’s representation in parliament. This is an improvement but we need to do more to ensure a greater number of women hold decision making positions,” she said.
The Executive Director of Equality Myanmar, Aung Myo Min said all vulnerable groups in Myanmar, including women, the disabled, and sexual minorities needed to feel protected and have their rights respected without discrimination.
The panel discussion was attended by more than 200 people including students from the University of Yangon, members of civil society organisations, academia, development partners and UN staff.
Under its global partnership agreement, UNDP has partnered with IDLO in Myanmar to implement the Rule of Law Centres project, through which centres have been established in Mandalay, Myitkyina, Taunggyi and Yangon, with financial support from the governments of Finland, Japan, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The centres have grown into vital community hubs where government and people come together.
Image: Panelists discussed the rule of law and sustainable development in Myanmar. Photo: Ne Lynn Aung/UNDP