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Norwegian ethnic peace fund effort criticized

A coalition of Karen community-based organizations says the Myanmar Peace Support Initiative (MPSI), backed by Norway, lacks transparency and community support.

Delegates exchange views at talks between the government and the Karen National Union on May 28, 2012. Photo: Mizzima
Delegates exchange views at talks between the government and the Karen National Union on May 28, 2012. Photo: Mizzima
“We are grateful that Norway has shown concern and a willingness to try to help move peace forward here,” it said. “We are asking for improvements so this initiative can make the type of contribution in that effort that everyone wants it to.”

“Peace funds are not a substitute for and should not undermine a comprehensive peace process,” said the statement.

The statement said the initiative's failure to consult local communities has resulted in infrastructure development being targeted at areas villagers do not want to relocate, because they will be unable to access their agricultural land.

Community-based groups were not given adequate information or opportunity to be legitimately consulted regarding the plans, it said.

“Given those problems, we ask MPSI and other proponents of donor-driven peace funds not to undermine our peace process, but rather to move to a more inclusive and transparent process,” it said. “MPSI should not take shortcuts or sow division within our leadership and our community in a bid to rush the deployment funds.”

The statement called on MPSI and other peace fund proponents to:

1. Stop their current activities for long enough to review their process and procedures for implementation.

2. Immediately release the fund design documents including the local languages translations. These documents should include sector targets, criteria and plans.

3. Issue clear rationales for how each of the projects supported by the funds will contribute to conflict resolution.

4. Develop and release project risk analysis and mitigation, and ensure that accessible monitoring and accountability mechanisms are in place.

5. Develop and execute a robust consultation strategy both with local community members and with community-based organizations.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 July 2012 13:52 )  

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