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Whose Crops, At What Price? Agricultural investment in Myanmar

January 31, 2017

After years of international isolation, Myanmar is liberalizing its economy and seeking to attract foreign investment. But while foreign investment can play an important role in developing the country's agriculture sector, in the current environment of limited transparency and accountability, an increase in agribusiness investments poses serious risks to the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and others dependent on land.This paper looks at the level and types of agribusiness investment in Myanmar. It outlines potential risks to communities posed by these investments, and explores state regulation of outbound investments as a way to promote responsible business practices in the sector. The paper makes recommendations to the Government of Myanmar and to investors on improving the scrutiny and monitoring of investments, tackling land rights abuses and ensuring that companies honour their responsibilities to respect human rights.

Underpaid and Undervalued: How Inequality Defines Women's Work in Asia

May 31, 2016

Rising economic inequality across Asia is threatening poverty reduction and slowing down the fight against gender inequality. Although the region has experienced economic growth, the bottom 70% have seen their income share fall while the share for the top 10% has increased rapidly. Low wages and a lack of rights at work, particularly for women, are at the heart of this scandal. At the same time, women are subsidizing the economy with a disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care work. Achieving living wages and recognizing, redistributing and reducing unpaid care work could support both economic and gender equality in Asia and should be prioritized by both governments and businesses.

Political Gender Quotas: Key debates and values for Myanmar

May 5, 2016

Women are increasingly visible in politics around the world but there is still a yawning gap in their political representation compared with men. In Myanmar, gender inequality and women's rights are major challenges across economic, social and political spheres. Myanmar's historic election in November 2015 saw a big increase in the numbers of women candidates and women MPs elected to parliament: the new government has nearly three times the number of women MPs than the previous one. But with close to 10 percent of elected parliamentary seats held by women, Myanmar is still the worst performer in the region for representation of women in parliament.This paper takes a snapshot of women's rights and political representation in Myanmar today, looks at the experience of countries around the world in increasing women's political representation, and examines the potential of a quota system for a country at a true turning point in its history. 

A Case for Gender-Responsive Budgeting in Myanmar

March 22, 2016

A country's budget can be a powerful lever for social transformation. A budget is the tool a government has to help it translate national resources into allocations which meet the needs and aspirations of its population, and set the country on a path to sustainable and equitable development. If a budget does not account for the different needs of women and men, it is 'gender-blind' - i.e., it perpetuates inequality through biased spending. More often than not, national budgets favour men and the groups, institutions and systems that are led by men.In Myanmar, the budgetary process is largely male-led; few women participate in formal decision making. Consequently, budgetary allocations that target women's practical and strategic gender needs remain low. This briefing paper - prepared by ActionAid, CARE, the Women's Organisations' Network (WON) and Oxfam - demonstrates just how important it is for Myanmar to adopt gender-responsive budgeting and provides recommendations to help achieve this. 

Made in Myanmar: Entrenched poverty or decent jobs for garment workers?

December 4, 2015

In Myanmar, the garment industry is booming thanks to an upsurge in investment by international brands, but garment workers are facing tough conditions. According to new research from Oxfam and labour rights groups in Myanmar, garment workers are working up to 11 hours a day, six days a week, but remain trapped in poverty. Following decades of economic isolation, political reforms have seen global retail heavyweights like GAP, H&M, Primark and Adidas starting to source from Myanmar factories. With the garment industry growing quickly, companies need to act now to ensure that workers making their products can access their fundamental rights and provide a decent living for themselves and their families.This briefing paper presents the research findings and makes recommendations for international sourcing companies and factories to help them protect garment workers' rights.

Deepening Democracy in Myanmar: What role for public financial management in deepening social accountability and promoting legitimate governance?

September 24, 2015

This discussion paper outlines some of the challenges and opportunities for public financial management (PFM) reform in contributing to deeper social accountability and legitimate governance in the context of Myanmar's wider decentralization and peace process. The paper poses a set of key questions for development actors to consider as they seek to support inclusive reform in Myanmar.

Riding the Wave of Reform: Fast-tracking Myanmar's future with good quality aid

January 16, 2014

In 2011, following decades of isolation, Myanmar embarked on an unprecedented reform process, raising hopes for a new democracy. These reforms have been welcomed by the international community with rising levels of aid. If properly handled and spent, aid offers an opportunity to harness Myanmar's economic potential and make it work for poor people - reducing inequality, providing essential services, building resilience, and promoting sustainable investment.This paper explores what good-quality aid should look like for Myanmar, what it could deliver for those living in poverty, and what decision makers can learn from other countries, to ensure that aid is a catalyst for democratic reform, equitable growth, and peace.

The Making of a Seoul Development Consensus: The essential development agenda for the G20

November 8, 2010

When the G20 meets in Seoul in November 2010, it has a big choice to make. It can either retreat into a narrow focus on its own interests, or it can prove it is capable of genuine global leadership in the face of the interlinked economic, food, and climate change crises. The G20 must adopt a Seoul 'development consensus' that confronts the challenges of the 21st century: reducing inequality and tackling global poverty through sustainable, equitable growth that gives poor women and men, and their governments, the tools they need to overcome poverty.

21st Century Aid: Recognising success and tackling failure

October 29, 2010

Aid plays a role in saving millions of lives. Recently, a barrage of criticism has been unleashed on aid, with critics using individual examples of failed aid to argue that all aid is bad and should be reduced or phased out altogether. This is both incorrect and irresponsible. This report examines the evidence, and finds that whilst there is much room for improvement, good quality 21st century aid not only saves lives, but is indispensable in unlocking poor countries' and people's ability to work their own way out of poverty.