UNICEF applauds Myanmar’s first-ever social protection strategy

UNICEF congratulates the Government of Myanmar on the adoption of the country’s first national social protection strategy. The document, which has been developed in the last year by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement-with technical support from UNICEF and inputs from UN agencies, bilateral development partners, NGOs- was endorsed by the president of Myanmar and officially launched today in Nay Pyi Taw.
“This is an historical milestone in the recent reform history of Myanmar, and in an exceptionally short time,” said Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF representative in Myanmar.   “The document presented today represents a major opportunity to change the life of children and families in Myanmar, and in particular the most vulnerable ones,” he added.
The first-ever National Social Protection strategy is both comprehensive and innovative, and sets new standards for the Asian region. The strategy takes a universal approach to cash benefits and highlights key flagship programmes with calculated costs in terms of GDP % and impacts on poverty reduction. In addition, the document clearly articulates social vulnerabilities and the need to hire and deploy 6000 social work case managers to facilitate an integrated approach to social services at decentralized level. It also gives prominence to disaster risk reduction, in recognition to the impact natural and human-made disasters have on vulnerable populations, especially children.
UNICEF applauds the strong focus on the first and very critical 1,000 days of life, with cash transfer to pregnant women and children up to 2 years of age – as well as the inclusion of a long-term support for children up to 15 years, a school feeding programme, and another programme to assist children with disabilities. With today’s launch, Myanmar is positioning itself with Thailand as the two countries in ASEAN with the most progressive vision on social protection for families and children.
“For the past two years, we have been discussing the opportunities for Myanmar to invest a great part of its revenues into services for families and children, and hopefully the Social Protection policy, strategy, and strategy plan will help make the case. It now all depends on policy makers, including the Parliamentarians, to make social protection a reality for millions of children and their families, right now, right from the 2015/2016 budget,” concluded Bertrand Bainvel.
UNICEF Myanmar reaffirms its commitment to continue supporting the reforms undertaken by the Government of Myanmar, namely by providing technical support and coordinating with donors and international agencies in key areas such as Education, Water and Sanitation, Nutrition and Social Protection- all areas critical for child survival, development and protection.–UNICEF

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