Sixth High-Level Mission towards peaceful transition to Democracy in Myanmar

The aim of the mission was to build on the foundations laid during previous missions to advance a peaceful transition to democracy, national reconciliation and constructive next steps in the peace process through an inclusive approach.

The mission met with Thura U Shwe Mann, Chairman, Commission for Legal Affairs and Special Issues and U Kyaw Tint Swe, Union Minister of Ministry of Office of the State Counselor to reiterate the Club de Madrid commitment to support for the new Government in their efforts on social inclusion and other significant next steps toward the democratic consolidations of the country. Meetings with NLD Central Executive Committee and the diplomatic community were also held in Yangon. Club de Madrid members participated at the Workshop on Good Governance of Natural Resources co-organized by the Oslo Center and the Government of Mongolia.

Club de Madrid and Mercy Corps co-organised a roundtable “Promoting Inter-religious Peace in Myanmar.” During the session leaders from different religious backgrounds including Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist shared their main concerns and challenges in promoting a platform on interreligious dialogue in Myanmar. Prime Minister Bondevik and Prime Minister Thinley shared their thoughts and experiences. Prime Minister Bondevik highlighted the creation of public structures in the Council of Religious Communities in Norway which works at the national and local level as a successful initiative of the Norwegian authorities. Prime Minister Thinley suggested organizing a meeting of interfaith leaders with Myanmar political leaders including media and additional actors. Both members agreed on the need not only to initiate a dialogue, but also to learn how to engage in it and be involved in a heterogonous group. 

The Club de Madrid members also listened to representatives from civil society organizations involved in the peace process during a meeting co-organized by Hope International. The discussion focused on the need to ensure a cessation of violence throughout the country and the establishment of clear procedures for managing the ceasefires, including independent verification and monitoring, as a prerequisite for meaningful dialogue on a peace agreement. They stressed the need for help from the international community to pave the way for a full peace agreement.

In a roundtable discussion with representatives from 20 political parties was co-organized by the Oslo Center and International IDEA to explore their needs and roles and how to promote internal party democracy. The Club de Madrid members exchanged views and concerns on the role of political parties within this new democratic phase. Prime Minister Bondevik shared his experience and perspectives including Norway’s tradition of political coalitions working together. The participants discussed the role of their parties including ethnic parties’ space in the political landscape.

The Club de Madrid members took part at a special session of the “Leadership seminar for Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Region and State Hluttaws” organized by UNDP Myanmar. The theme was relations between Government and Parliament and Prime Minister Thinley and Prime Minister Bondevik had a fruitful discussion sharing their experiences and best practices from their countries. The other speakers were Don Harwin, President of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, Australia and Dawn Black, former Deputy Speaker of the Assembly of British Columbia, Canada.

Former Prime Minister Thinley held a bilateral meeting with representatives of the Buddhist religious group Ma Ba Tha in which the former Prime Minister of Bhutan shared his own experiences with different ethnics and religious minorities in his country. Ma Ba Tha leaders suggested that an organization such as Club de Madrid could play an interesting role organizing a meeting in which Myanmar religious and political leaders could exchange and discuss their main concerns.

The participants shared experiences on managing mining issues and learned best practices of the mining sector from different countries. Representatives from many countries, namely Mongolia, Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Myanmar, and Timor-Leste attended the Workshop. Prime Minister Bondevik was one of the keynote speakers at the opening remarks and Prime Minister Thinley gave a speech on “Challenges in Developing Bhutan’s Natural Resources” in which he described the sustainable approach being followed in his country.