On 16 September, the European Union (EU) and EU Member States met with more than 50 local Civil Society Organisations for the launch of the EU Roadmap for engagement with civil society according to an EU statement on 16 September.
The Roadmap is the result of an extensive and inclusive process of consultation with over 150 Myanmar Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the EU and its Member States. At the event, CSOs, international partners and the EU discussed priorities for future action which are outlined in the Roadmap.
The priorities of the EU Roadmap in Myanmar and its specific actions are the result of four consultations between civil society and the EU in Mandalay, Mawlamyaing and twice in Yangon in late 2014. The objective of the event was to present the Roadmap and start a dialogue around the implementation of the four priorities identified in the document, which will guide EU and Member States engagement with CSOs in Myanmar in the coming years.
The Roadmap consists of an extensive overview of the role of Civil Society and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Myanmar. It also includes a number of challenges, priorities and actions. The four priorities are:
- To increase the space for CSOs to operate
- To enhance the relationship between CSOs and public institutions
- To increase CSOs’ capacities for research, advocacy and policy dialogue with government
- To enhance the organisational structures and internal management of CSOs and CSO networks
The official launch of the Roadmap was inaugurated by Ms. Isabel Faria de Almeida, Head of Co-operation at the European Union Delegation to Myanmar, on 16 September in Yangon. In her opening address, Ms. Faria de Almeida praised the joint efforts and good relations with civil society.
"The aim of the Roadmap is to strengthen Europe’s engagement with Civil Society Organisations in Myanmar. An empowered civil society is a crucial component of any democratic system and is an asset in itself. It represents and fosters pluralism and can contribute to more effective policies, equitable and sustainable development and inclusive growth."
As one of civil society's most important development partners in Myanmar, the EU considers the Roadmap to be a key tool through which its engagement with civil society will be structured. With this Roadmap the EU and its Member States aim to improve the impact, predictability and visibility of EU actions. It also identifies long-term objectives of cooperation with Civil Society Organisations and encompasses dialogue as well as operational support, taking into account the views and challenges of CSOs in Myanmar the statement said.