NEW YORK – The United Nations Development Program is getting ready to normalize aid to Myanmar this month under an initiative being taken by Japan, diplomatic sources at the world body said Friday.
Since the United States and the European Union have decided to ease sanctions on Myanmar as it moves toward democratization, competition is growing from other countries eager to tap its natural resources with the help of development aid.
Japan, which has been seeking to bring Myanmar back into the international fold, hopes to boost its profile further by taking the initiative in the UNDP to normalize aid to the country.
In New York, where the UNDP is headquartered, Japan’s permanent mission to the United Nations has hosted an informal meeting of concerned countries to coordinate opinions on how to time the removal of the body’s aid restrictions.
It was decided that Japan will submit a proposal to normalize UNDP aid jointly with Indonesia when the body’s executive board of 36 member countries meets in Geneva later this month, the sources said.
As key members of the board have already agreed on a draft of the proposal, it is expected to be passed unanimously, the sources said. Talks on specific measures will likely begin at the executive board’s meeting in September, the sources said.
If the plan is approved, the UNDP will start support activities for Myanmar next year, including steps to improve the Myanmar government’s administrative capabilities, according to the sources.