The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), today extended its tripartite deal with Myanmar for improving conditions in Rakhine state for Rohingyas to return and live with other communities.
The exchange of letters on the memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Myanmar Ministry of Labor, Immigration, and Population, and by representatives of UNDP and UNHCR in Naypyidaw, Myanmar. The deal extends cooperation through June 2021.
"The MoU aims at helping create a conducive environment for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh as well as supporting recovery and resilience-based development for the benefit of all communities living in the three northern townships of Rakhine State," said a statement of the UN Refugee Agency in Myanmar.
Welcoming the extension of the agreement, UNDP and UNHCR in a joint statement said, "While the environment in Rakhine State is not yet conducive to the voluntary repatriation of refugees, the MoU has allowed UNHCR and UNDP teams to assess the immediate needs in over 120 villages so far in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships.
"We have consulted over 2,600 people on their communities' priorities, ensuring that the projects will best meet their needs and serve to promote social cohesion between communities."
Since the initial MoU was signed on June 6, 2018, a total of 75 quick impact projects (QIPs) have been approved, including for community infrastructure such as water improvement, school and road rehabilitation, skills training and income-generating projects, as well as projects targeting persons with specific needs.
The seventh round of assessments is now proceeding but constrained due to the Covid-19 situation. Efforts are underway to raise awareness within the communities about Covid-19 prevention.
This latest extension of the MoU comes amid ongoing armed conflict leading to increased humanitarian needs among all communities across the state, and deepening the operational challenges faced by UNDP, UNHCR and partner organisations.
The statement said consistent access for UNDP, UNHCR and their partners is essential to ensure expanded implementation of the MoU.