A forum to discuss the sustainable development of ethnic nationals was held yesterday morning at Mingalar Thiri Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw.
In his opening speech, Vice President U Henry Van Thio said the forum was of vital importance, as it is a chance top learn and share the views and experiences of ethnic nationals, many of whom have limited economic options.
“Ethnic nationals mainly live in border areas and on the hills and mountains. Most of the hills and mountain areas where ethnic nationals live have poor road infrastructure, and it is still difficult to travel in these places. There is very little opportunity to conduct economic activities. Thus, ethnic nationals need to find a solution together for this. All ethnic nationals must work unitedly and strive to overcome whatever difficulties or challenges there may be.
“It is the priority of the government to achieve stability and peace in regions where ethnic nationals live. Differences in views were set aside and similarities were combined to go forward, while there were instances where, despite differences, progress through coordination was achieved. Despite differing views, a corroborative construction can still be achieved. The main thing is to have peace. When good administration, management and guidance are provided fairly, the country will certainly develop. Everyone will see that the fruits of peace can be obtained and tasted. If there is peace in the region, there will be socio-economic development,” the Vice President remarked.
“It can be seen that all ethnic nationals have their own literature, language, tradition and culture. The Ministry of Ethnic
Affairs was formed to link the ethnic nationals and government together and to prevent their literature, tradition, culture and national character from disappearing. To strengthen and stabilise the political reforms implemented for the socio-economic development of the ethnic national regions, it is important that the economy becomes strong and there is stability in society. That is why the government has implemented policies for internal peace, national reconciliation, establishment of a democratic federal union, and the socio-economic development of ethnic nationals and others and is consistently striving to achieve these goals. To achieve internal peace, Union Peace Conference 21st Century Panglong meetings are being held in stages, and the Union Government, Hluttaw, Tatmadaw, political parties and civil society organizations, together with EAOs, are working to establish a Democratic Federal Republic, as desired by the people. The challenges have to be overcome with a firm belief,” said the Vice President.
“While striving towards sustainable socio-economic development, one must remember that development and peace go together. Development is achieved when there is peace, and peace can be sustained only when there is development. Good road infrastructure and adequate power supply is the basic requirement for socio-economic development. These basic requirements will be fulfilled by the government, and the development will be fast and successful only when private businesses enter the economy of the region. The government is doing everything with every possible means for internal peace, rapid socio-economic development of the regions occupied by ethnic nationals, and the establishment of a Democratic Federal Republic, in accordance with the results of the political dialogues and the establishment of a constitution that is appropriate for a future Myanmar. If learned persons from all sectors and the people work together, the socio-economy of our ethnic national brothers and sisters will develop quickly, together with internal peace,” the Vice President stated.
Next, Mon State Minister for Pa-O Ethnic Affairs Daw San Wint Khaing read the message sent by the State Counsellor. (The State Counsellor’s message is shown separately.)
Later, Union Minister for Ethnic Affairs Nai Thet Lwin said economic businesses and regional development works for the sustainable development of the ethnic national’s socio-economic situation can be conducted only when there is regional stability and rule of law. “For the development of economic businesses, emphasis must be placed on the views, wishes, aims, culture and traditions of ethnic nationals. Sustainable socio-economic development of ethnic nationals can only be achieved when the basic requirements of the ethnic region’s farmers, workers, women and children are fulfilled. Both the socio-economic development of ethnic nationals and internal peace must be achieved together,” Nai Thet Lwin said.
Vice President U Henry Van Thio then took a commemorative group photograph with the forum attendees.
Next, Professor Dr. Aung Tun Thet and Burma News International Executive Director U Than Myint read papers on “economic facts about ethnic nationals” and “peace and ethnic media,” respectively. Officials from the relevant sectors then discussed the papers.
The forum will continue until January 19.
Also present at the forum were Union Ministers Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, Dr. Win Myat Aye and Nai Thet Lwin; Deputy Ministers U Aung Hla Tun, Dr. Tun Naing, U Aung Htoo and U Win Maw Tun; Peace Commission Member Professor Dr. Aung Tun Thet; states/region’ Ministers for ethnic affairs; self-administered regions’ and zones’ leading body chairmen and members; Hluttaw representatives; Permanent Secretaries; Directors-General; representatives of Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs) that had signed the National Ceasefire Agreement; representatives of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry; members of states/regions’ literature and cultural organizations; representatives of non-governmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations; invited guests; and local and foreign media personnel and officials.