During the implementation of the Income Restoration Program (IRP) for Phase 1/Zone A, a number of initiatives have been undertaken to strengthen the social performance of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone. Key initiatives are described in the paragraphs below.
To Promote Stakeholder Engagement: Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group (MSAG)
The proposal for a Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group (MSAG) to advise on the implementation of the Thilawa SEZ Phase 1 project and, in particular, the resettlement program was put forward as a direct outcome of the Investigation Report by the Examiner for JICA Guidelines for Environmental and Social Considerations (November 2014), and in response to recommendations from the external monitoring and evaluation conducted for the Phase 1 resettlement program. It was also in response to civil society interest and concerns about the resettlement program and Government of Myanmar (GoM) recognition that broader stakeholder engagement would assist in resolving some ongoing challenges.
The MSAG’s objectives were to:
- Create a broad dialogue between relevant key stakeholders of the Thilawa SEZ Phase 1 project with the intention to improve policies, priorities and processes that govern the Project and ensure the success of the SEZ and benefits to affected communities.
- Identify and assess potential issues, concerns and complaints from Project Affected Persons (PAPs) with the implementation of the resettlement program and recommend corrective measures or other actions required to resolve such issues, concerns or complaints.
- Bring to the attention of the relevant implementing agencies and authorities any issues, concerns and complaints that PAPs and other stakeholders have regarding the Thilawa Phase 1 project.
- Monitor implementation of resettlement and income restoration activities to ensure they fulfill the obligations set out by relevant Myanmar and international commitments.
- Promote and facilitate improved outcomes for PAPs of Thilawa Phase 1 resettlement program including by encouraging good international practice in resettlement and income restoration activities.
- Promote good international practice in stakeholder engagement including disseminating information to generate a better understanding of Thilawa SEZ Phase 1 project and reduce the risk of conflict and misunderstandings.
- Identify lessons learned from Thilawa Phase 1 project to inform planning and implementation of the Phase 2 project.
The membership of the MSAG was as follows:
Chairperson: Ms. Vicky Bowman, Director, Myanmar Center for Responsible Business (MCRB)
Secretariat: JICA Expert Team
- Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Management Committee Secretary (1)
- Income Restoration Program Implementation Supporting Committee (IRPISC) representatives (2)
- Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development (MJTD) representatives (2)
- Project Affected People/Community Representatives (2) (including 1 from the Thilawa SEZ Phase 2/Zone B community)
- Mediators (1)
- Non Government Organisations (NGOs)/Civil Society Organisations (CSOs); Paung Ku (1), Earth Rights International (1), Thilawa Social Development Group (1)
MSAG meetings were held on a quarterly basis from February 2015 – March 2016.
In July/August 2016, a third-party evaluation was undertaken of the MSAG. It concluded that that while the creation of the MSAG was necessary and timely, a new mechanism was needed that would oversee and manage company-community relations in the SEZ.
Discussions have recently commenced regarding development of an alternate mechanism.
To Share Experience with Global Community: UN Forum on Business and Human Rights 2015
On 16 November 2015, representatives from the Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Management Committee, Project Affected Persons (PAPs), Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development (MJTD), the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB), non-government organisations (NGOs) and the JICA Expert Team participated in a panel at the 4th United Nations (UN) Forum on Business and Human Rights held in Geneva, Switzerland. The panel was organized by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights in collaboration with the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre and the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights.
The focus of the panel was the Multi Stakeholder Advisory Group (MSAG) that had been formed in relation to the Thilawa SEZ. Through the MSAG, all three pillars of the UN “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework could be applied to address specific impacts and create sustainable solutions.
The panel was titled Multi-stakeholder action across Protect, Respect and Remedy.
Panel speakers were:
- Dr. Than Aung, Joint Secretary of the Thilawa SEZ Management Committee (TSMC),(showing government commitment as the first pillar of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights);
- Mr. Takashi Yanai, President of MJTD (showing corporate commitment as the second pillar); and a
- Thilawa resident (PAP) and Ms. Vicky Bowman, Executive Director, Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB) (showing commitment to the MSAG as a grievance mechanism i.e. access to remedy as the third pillar).
Further information about the Panel session is available here:
To Promote Social Performance at Thilawa SEZ : Social Performance Guideline
To encourage responsible investment and create an enabling environment for responsible business conduct within the SEZ, it was considered essential to develop a suite of policies for the SEZ that would promote sustainable development in terms of social, labour and human rights.
Environmental, Health, Safety & Security, Social & Communities, Human Resources & Recruitment Policies have been drafted for the SEZ in accordance with the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). These policies are currently being reviewed for finalisation.
In August 2015, the Thilawa SEZ Management Committee (TSMC) issued Notice No. 04/2015 Notice to Ensure the Responsible Investment in the Thilawa SEZ. This notice can be accessed here: http://www.myanmarthilawa.gov.mm/sites/default/files/Responsible%20business.pdf
In May 2016, the TSMC issued a Notice to Investors or Locators regarding the Anti-Corruption Declaration. This notice can be accessed here: http://www.myanmarthilawa.gov.mm/sites/default/files/Notice1_2016_Anti-corruption.pdf
Other guidance is currently under development in regards to: Myanmar labour law; environmental protection and management; and stakeholder and community engagement, complaints and grievances.
To share experience on Land Acquisition , Resettlement, Income Restoration Program
The Seminar on Good Practice Approaches to Land Acquisition & Resettlement Seminar was conducted by Thilawa Special Economic Zone Management Committee (TSEZMC), a main organizer, in collaboration with co organizers of JICA and MCRB on 5th December, 2016. Another Seminar on Good Practice Social Considerations for Public and Private Developments was held by JICA as a main organizer on 26th and 27th July, 2017.Participants from TSEZMC, MCRB, JICA, MOC, MJTD, Dawei SEZ, Myanmar Post and Telecommunication and Myanma Railway attended this seminar for sharing the experience on Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Income Restoration Program.
For further information on Seminar , See more ...
Seminar on “Good Practice Approaches to Land Acquisition & Resettlement Seminar” (December, 2016)
Seminar on “Good Practice Social Considerations for Public and Private Developments” (July, 2017)