Country Profile: 

Population (thousand) (2015): 53,897.15
Multidimensional Poverty Index (%) : 0.888 (UNDP, 2000)
Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, Country Rank (2014): 148
Gross Domestic Product per capita, at Purchasing Price Parity (2015) (US$): 5,500 ( est.)

Background:

Since 2010, the Government of Myanmar has been undertaking a series of crucial nationwide political and socio-economic reforms. The reform process has made economic liberalisation and the promotion of foreign investment key components to ensure Myanmar’s growth.  The country’s economy is driven by agriculture and natural resources and investments in these sectors carry significant environmental and social implications, as a majority of vulnerable populations are directly dependent on natural resources for sustenance.

The Framework for Economic and Social Reforms (FESR) was developed to set the policy priorities of the government in 2012–2015 for achieving the long-term goals of the 20-year National Comprehensive Development Plan (National Comprehensive Development Plan) 2011–2031. It highlights the importance of “a pro-poor macroeconomic environment” to achieving inclusive growth. It states that concession agreements in natural resource sectors such as mining and energy should meet high social and environmental standards, as well as deliver equitable and transparent financial benefits.

The PEI programme in Myanmar was initiated in 2014 to help the Government promote and manage responsible investments and ensure inclusive growth. The programme aims to improve the quality of incoming foreign direct investments by strengthening national policies, investment management tools and the capacity of the Government to negotiate with investors and maximize benefits for local communities and minimize damage on the environment.

PEI in Myanmar is led by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration under the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development and works in collaboration with the Ministry of Mines. 

PEI Myanmar is geared towards:

a) Strengthening investment management processes within DICA and related agencies to take into account environment and social considerations;

b) Supporting inclusive and responsible governance of mining and renewables (fisheries and forestry)  including revenue transparency;

c) Improving the enabling governance context related to Myanmar’s legal frameworks for investment and sustainable development;

d) Strengthening local governance of natural resource investments and revenue management, including capacity building for implementation

Achievements: 
  • PEI provided substantive technical advice to the National Comprehensive Development Plan 2011-2030 as a result of which the plan now highlights the importance of sustainable natural resource management for poverty reduction. PEI's inputs specifically were focussed on Strategic Thrust 7 of the document with the aim to "Conserve and Protect the Resource Base", in the form of sustainable development outcomes and environment indicators to include in the National Comprehensive Development Plan. 

  • A ‘Negotiation Reference Document’ was developed with PEI support to use as a reference tool for the analysis of international investment treaties, governing foreign investment between countries. The Reference Document has been endorsed by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) under the Ministry of Planning and Finance.  

  • PEI worked with the Department of Mines to develop a ‘Financial modeling tool  that can assess the feasibility of mining proposals (foreign and domestic), including revenues for environmental management and social development. The tool is intended to present a more realistic financial picture of investment proposals by including environmental and social costs and benefits in the projected cash flows. The government can also see how changing inputs such as royalty or tax rates may affect a project’s viability or the government’s share of a project’s benefits. This tool has been rolled out to staff with the help of specialized training and a draft user guide. In 2016, the Department of Mines and PEI invited 7 private sector companies and 4 State economic enterprises to introduce the model and discuss its usefulness among private sector players. 

  • PEI through International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) mobilized a unique network of highly skilled and experienced pro bono lawyers to evaluate the current strength and scope of Myanmar’s mining and environmental laws and regulations and to advise Myanmar’s Department of Mines on relevant international best practices related to mining and environmental stewardship and regulation. With technical input from ISLP, PEI organized a cross-sectoral consultation and undertook an in-depth analysis of various areas/topics that are of relevance when reviewing Myanmar’s mining and environmental laws and regulations and cross-referenced them to identify areas of policy coherence and regulatory requirements (or lack thereof), as well as areas for potential refinement or enhancement in different laws. These recommendations were presented to the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment Conservation.

  • PEI is initiating a multi-stakeholder process at the subnational level with civil society, private sector and government to oversee an assessment of social, economic and environmental impacts from mining activities in 2 townships in Mandalay (including differential impacts by gender). In order to carry out this assessment, The Department of Mines is leading this assessment with key partners including Myanmar Association for Transparency and Accountability (civil society) and Myanmar Federation of Mining Associations (private sector). The assessment report, expected in 2017, will provide recommendations that include guidance on how to strengthen mechanisms for public participation in project management,  improved public access to project information required according to the law; improved access to grievance reporting mechanisms with companies; opportunities for participatory monitoring processes; and ultimately, improved company compliance with Myanmar’s laws to protect people and the environment. 

(Last page update: Feb 22, 2017) 

Key Documents
Mainstreaming Resources: 
UNCTAD Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development
Myanmar Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative
Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business:
Greater Mekong Subregion Environment Operations Centre Myanmar
GIZ Myanmar "Capacity development for the private sector"