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Cross-sector summit for development in Myanmar 

More than 250 high-profile representatives from NGOs, businesses, government and UN organisations are set to convene at the Aid & Development Asia Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, to exchange innovative and sustainable solutions for improving aid delivery and development strategy in Southeast Asia.

Hosted on June 14–15, 2017, the Third annual Aid & Development Asia Summit offers opportunities for cross-sector collaboration and debate to bring escalating issues of disaster relief, food security, access to healthcare and use of mobile technologies to the forefront of regional agenda.

Southeast Asia is particularly vulnerable to severe climate change related disasters. Out of 65.3 million displaced people around the world, 14 per cent are being hosted in Asia and the Pacific. Despite significant progress made over the last decade, hunger, malnutrition, disease and poverty are still among the notable challenges particularly facing the region.

More than 130 million people in Southeast Asia do not have access to basic health services. Communicable diseases, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis, remain a major public health challenge. The region has the lowest density of health professionals with a deficit of 6.9 million health workers. As a result, Southeast Asia has one of the highest rates of child mortality in the world with one in 19 children dying before their fifth birthday.

Challenges in achieving health Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have urged global and regional agencies to look for innovative ways to improve health systems and programmes. Technology and partnerships are paramount to ensure that desired universal health care access is achieved in an affordable and sustainable way.

Humanitarian and development practitioners will meet at the Aid & Development Asia Summit in Nay Pyi Taw to discuss challenges and opportunities in aid and development sector in Southeast Asia and to share new innovations and best practice. High-level delegates include business leaders, sector experts, investors, government ministers and representatives from NGOs and UN bodies.

The opening keynote address will be given by Dr Tin Htut, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation, Myanmar. Day one will focus on funding and procurement trends in Myanmar and Southeast Asia, innovations and policies to support community resilience and food security, strengthening disaster preparedness and early warning systems. It will also look into how agricultural productivity can be improved and offer an update on technology and latest initiatives for meeting education SDGs in the region.

Khin Thida Maw, Country Officer, International Finance Corporation, World Bank, Kyaw Thu, Infrastructure Specialist, Asian Development Bank and Martina Aureli, Business Development and Sales Executive, Asia and Oceania, NRS International will look into building successful public-private partnerships in the humanitarian and development space.

U Tun Tun Naing, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Planning and Finance , Myanmar will close the first day of the Aid & Development Asia Summit with a keynote address.

Day two will commence with an opening speech by Dr That Zin Htoo, Assistant Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Sports, Myanmar, followed by a panel on mobile for development programmes in Southeast Asia.

How to strengthen maternal and child health programmes and share best practice in tackling communicable diseases will be discussed by Dr Stephan Paul Jost, Country Representative, World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Aye Yu Soe, Senior Public Health Officer, Three Millennium Development Goal (3MDG), UNOPS, Luc Provost, CEO, B Medical Systems, Dr Tobe Makoto, Senior Advisor, Health Financing and Health Systems, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Lena Wahlhed, Director, Alliance Development, HemoCue.

The roundtable discussion session provide participants with an opportunity to discuss topics such as WASH partnerships and initiatives, emergency communication with communities, climate smart agriculture and disaster risk reduction.

Shon Campbell, Manager, Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU), UNDP and Wivina Belmonte, Deputy Regional Director, East Asia and Pacific, UNICEF will debate the importance of shared platforms and data exchange amongst aid and development stakeholders. Special focus will be given to crowd sourcing and open source knowledge solutions for data collection and management.

Digital and financial inclusion in Southeast Asia is the focus of the panel led by Alix Zwane, Chief Executive Officer, Global Innovation Fund. Paul Luchtenburg, Country Director, Myanmar, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and Myint Kyaw, Program Director, Rural Finance and Value Chain Development, Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT), UNOPS will discuss the growth of mobile money, what it means for the development sector as well as how to use cash transfers in an emergency context.

Moe Thu, Associate Director, Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs, Myanmar, World Vision and Ei Ei Htwe, Director, Logistics Department, Myanmar Red Cross Society join the panel on humanitarian logistics. They will look into how to overcome the challenges of last mile logistics and how to ensure the safety of aid workers and goods in areas of reduced infrastructure or conflict.

Delivering SDGs requires a clear shared vision that brings together key stakeholders and actors involved in the aid and development sectors in the region. Innovations and developments in disaster resilience, health & WASH, agriculture, humanitarian logistics, education, connectivity and financial inclusion are fundamental for the successful achievement of the SDGs in the region.

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