Myanmar’s forgotten humanitarian and human rights crises: the EU and the international community are needed now more than ever

AICS Hanoi, engaged in the humanitarian assistance in Myanmar, is glad to share the following press release issued by the European Union.

Bruxelles, March 11, 2024 – “The European Union and the international community must remain by Myanmar’s side and increase humanitarian and development assistance”, Vice-President of the European Parliament Heidi Hautala said today ahead of an art exhibition in Brussels. The exhibition, open to the public from 20 to 24 March 2024, sheds light on the struggles of Myanmar people, and especially women, amid the country’s deteriorating security environment.

The exhibition – Our Voices, Our Needs – enables people from inside Myanmar coming from different ethnicities, religions, regions and backgrounds to represent their daily lives, visions and dreams through various forms of art. It is an open space for self-expression. It provides visitors to the exhibition with an opportunity for both contemplation and action. The exhibition is supported by the European Union and the European Parliament.

“Our Voices, Our Needs” Struggles and challenges that women are facing amid deteriorating security situation in Myanmar showcased at Brussels art exhibition

In February 2021, a military coup halted Myanmar democratic transition, with devastating effects for the country and its people. As of today, over 7,200 civilians have been killed and more than 20,000 detained, with 119 on death row.  The country is plunging daily into deeper humanitarian and socio-economic crisis, with 2.6 million people internally displaced, almost half of the population living under the poverty line, and 18.6 million people in need of humanitarian support (up from 1 million before the coup). It is estimated that more than 9.7 million of these are women and girls. Their vulnerability to trafficking, gender- based violence and other violations have spiraled in the last 3 years.  Despite the broadening humanitarian disaster, the UN estimates that in 2023 only 29% of the humanitarian needs were met.

Ms Hautala, a renowned human rights defender and former Minister for International Development of Finland who has worked for decades to give voice to dispossessed and oppressed peoples around the world, said “It would be easy for the EU and the international community to listen to some voices that are demanding we should abandon our presence and work in Myanmar. But in fact it’s more important than ever that we are on the ground, listening to people and supporting them in their most basic needs”.

“As in any conflict situation, women are often those who bear the heaviest burden. We haven’t seen poverty levels like this in Myanmar for more than 15 years. Development gains that took decades have unraveled rapidly”, a humanitarian expert added. “People’s livelihoods are endangered more than ever, and the uncertainty that characterizes daily life is affecting all aspects of an already fragile economy hard-hit by inflation and shortages”, she added.

Women have played a pivotal role in standing up to the regime, and have also been quick to step in to provide support systems to their families and communities. They serve as multipliers of essential goods and social services. Myanmar is a society in which women’s voices are often overshadowed and marginalised. Since the military coup, gross human rights violations in Myanmar have multiplied. The voices of the Myanmar people are growingly silenced by the military junta and restrictions on freedoms of expression, media, association, travel, access to information and to the internet are muting the voices of those in more vulnerable positions. As one of the artists whose works are showcased in the exhibition signaled, “showing our work in Brussels is a way to remind the international community about the largely forgotten crisis afflicting our country and its people.”

The Head of the EU Delegation to Myanmar, Ambassador Ranieri Sabatucci, said: “The EU has committed more than €290 million over the past three years to address the multifaceted crisis in Myanmar. This has been a vital lifeline for the people. We have also been supporting and advocating for maintaining the hundreds of thousands decent jobs created for women mostly before the coup, in spite of the economic crisis and restrictions imposed. All EU development and humanitarian funding is channeled via international and local partner organisations. The European Union is as determined as ever to play its part in supporting the needs and aspirations of the people of Myanmar. But there’s a funding gap for humanitarian actions of well over half a billion dollars that necessitates other countries and partners to step in with their support. That’s why visibility actions like this exhibition are so important.”

‘Our Voices, Our Needs’ – An art exhibition of the unseen voices of women in Myanmar Open to the public and can be visited from 20 to 24 March 2024 at 33 Rue Simonis, 1050 Brussels, from 11:00 to 19:00 hrs daily. The exhibition is supported by the European Union and the European Parliament.

The Director of AICS Office XI “Human Resources” Annamaria Iotti on mission to AICS Hanoi, Vietnam

The Director of AICS Office XI “Human Resources” Annamaria Iotti and AICS Hanoi Team

Hanoi – The one-week mission of Ms. Annamaria Iotti, Director of AICS Office XI “Human Resources”, at AICS field office in Hanoi, Vietnam, ended this February 23rd. The visit aimed at familiarizing her with the activities managed by the Office and at getting acquainted with its local partners in view of her future temporary regency, scheduled to start on April 1st. The mandate of Ms. Tiziana Fusco, the current AICS Hanoi Head of Office, will end after two years on March 31st.

To encourage an effective change of ownership of the office, Ms. Iotti made the acquaintance of the Italian Ambassador in Hanoi, H.E. Marco Della Seta, and virtually met the Italian Ambassador in Manila, H.E. Marco Clemente, and the Italian Ambassador in Yangon, H.E. Nicolo Tassoni Estense. Furthermore, she had been introduced to the Director of International Relations of the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning, Pham Hoang Mai. Finally, she had the opportunity to participate in the Development Counsellors meeting hosted by the European Union Delegation in Vietnam and in several sectoral meetings with the Program Experts of the office’s initiatives.

“We hope that all the meetings and exchange opportunities had been useful and stimulating for the future role as regent of Ms. Iotti. As the end of my mandate approaches, I positively evaluate the work carried out and the results achieved by the regional AICS Office in Hanoi, considering the peculiarity of the region of intervention that pushes the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation to explore innovative cooperation strategies and tools” declared Ms. Fusco on the sidelines of the visit.

To date, AICS Hanoi focuses its action on the management of water resources, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), the fight against climate change, healthcare and sustainable rural development in Vietnam, the PhilippinesSmall Island States of the Pacific and at a regional level with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It also intervenes in humanitarian and peace-building activities in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

“The visit at AICS Hanoi office allowed me to delve deeper into our intervention strategies and ongoing initiatives in the regional area of competence of the Office, as well as in its organizational and management of the technical and administrative work. The meetings with some of the main institutional interlocutors revealed a particular appreciation for our Agency and its professionals. Therefore, it is crucial for the management of AICS Headquarters to get as close as possible to its field offices which are the “beating hearts” of the Italian Cooperation” concluded Ms. Iotti at the end of her mission.

Call for Proposals 2023 for CSOs and local authorities

The AICS Hanoi office is pleased to announce the publication in the Gazzetta Ufficiale of the Call for Proposals 2023 for the granting of contributions to Initiatives promoted by Territorial Bodies, Civil Society Organizations, and other non-profit entities registered in the List.

On February 8, 2024, the Call for Proposals 2023 Info Day will be held at the AICS Office in Florence. The event will take place in a hybrid format – both in-person and online. Registration is required, and you can sign up using the following registration link: https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx…

Proposals must be submitted via certified email (PEC) to the address: bandi.osc@pec.aics.gov.it.

The deadline for submitting proposals is set for 1:00 PM on May 6, 2024.

Each proposed initiative must be related to a single field of intervention among those listed below:

  • Professional training – employment – entrepreneurship
  • Governance and basic services
  • Sustainable urban development and urban food policies
  • Food security and sustainable agriculture
  • Environment, combating climate change, and energy

The AICS Hanoi office invites Civil Society Organizations and Territorial Bodies operating in Bangladesh to seize this opportunity.

For further information on the Call for proposals 2023, please refer to the following link: https://shorturl.at/bGHKP

AICS Hanoi participates in the presentation of the study “Agricultural Industry and Mechanization in Vietnam”

Last 15th of January, the “Agricultural Industry and Mechanization in Vietnam” study, carried out by ICE and Federunacoma, was presented in Hanoi. The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Hanoi expresses its gratitude to the Italian Embassy for the invitation to participate in the event’s round table, where AICS presented the “Scientific and Technical Support for Sustainable Agriculture in Asean Countries – 3S” project, included in its 2023 Programming and currently in its formulation phase. 

The project aims at increasing the resilience to climate change and the economic and environmental sustainability of agricultural practices in ASEAN countries through the introduction of sustainable agriculture and low impact farming mechanization solutions in maize, cassava and sugarcane value chains. 

The project will be implemented by a consortium composed by the University of Milan, the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA) of Pisa, and the Alliance Bioversity & CIAT International.

A sincerely appreciation is also due to ICE and Federunacoma for their contribution to the agricultural sector, the Vietnam Institute of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology (VIEAP), co-organizer and host of the event, and the participants who led the way for an interesting debate.

 

AICS – Office V on monitoring mission to Vietnam

The monitoring mission of AICS’s Office for “Environment and Land Use” – Ufficio V to Vietnam ended on December 9th, 2023. The three-week mission was part of the Office V monitoring activities for the year 2023 and included a week of institutional meetings and documentation analysis at AICS Hanoi Office along with two weeks of on-site/field visits at four project sites.

During the first week, the delegation held meetings with local authorities, including the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), the Department of Water Resources Management (MONRE), and the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Network of the Ministry of Environment. Besides, the delegation met with some representatives of the donor community, namely the European Delegation, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and United Nation Development Programme Office.

During the following two weeks, the delegation visited three projects’ sites accompanied by an MPI official and two team members of AICS Office in Hanoi. The three projects, pertaining to the WA.S.H sector and financed through Italian ODA soft loans, include the “Water Supply in Binh Thuan” project aimed at supplying and distributing potable water, the “Tay Ninh Wastewater Collection and Treatment System” project and the “Urban Sanitation of Nui Thanh, Quang Nam Province” project, both focused on domestic wastewater collection and treatment. The on-site visits were followed by meetings with local authorities, consultants and contractors involved in the execution of the works. The delegation also visited Khanh Hoa and Ninh Thuan provinces, where the second phase of an ODA soft loan project named “Improving Vietnam’s Flood Forecasting and Warning System, Phase II” was completed in late 2020. This latter intervention included a training package for local technicians and the installation of weather monitoring stations at various sites around the province.

During the meetings and briefings, the Italian delegation submitted questionnaires, reviewed project documents, and interviewed authorities, local actors, and stakeholders, adopting various monitoring tools including the Environmental Sustainability Matrix. The monitoring mission helped to assess critical issues and best practices, also providing a valuable opportunity to reflect on the future of the Italian cooperation in Vietnam and the South-East Asia region in the field of water resource management, natural disaster mitigation, and fight against climate change.

[tchsp id=”7″]

AICS Hanoi together with International Committee of the Red Cross to address sexual violence in Cox’s Bazar area

Italian Cooperation in Southeast Asia has always placed combating sexual and gender-based violence among its main objectives, funding several projects in Myanmar and Bangladesh. In the latter country, where AICS has been playing its role in supporting humanitarian interventions in the Cox’s Bazar area since 2018, the Italian Cooperation has committed itself alongside the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), funding – over the period 2021-2023 – two grants worth €1 million each for the protection of the Rohingya refugee population.

There are approximately 940.000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar district, more than half of whom are women, spread across 33 highly congested camps and experiencing dire living conditions that make women particularly vulnerable to abuses such as sexual violence. Indeed, the rate of recorded abuse in the proximity of the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar is considerably high, and the numerical figure of recorded violence is undoubtedly much lower than the actual figure. This is because the context of absolute fragility experienced by refugee women, who lack recognized legal status, disincentivizes in most cases the reporting of the violence they have suffered, thus making reliable data collection on the phenomenon very difficult.

In this context, the Committee of the International Red Cross (ICRC) has been implementing – also thanks to the aforementioned AICS grants – a program to address the emergency, with a strong emphasis on the need to protect the Rohingya women population through actions of legal advice and Protection, training for the benefit of medical, prison and security personnel, as well as widespread medical and health interventions and important prevention initiatives.

Following a community-based approach, ICRC has set up face-to-face opportunities to attempt to engage each community component in the journey to address gender-based violence, with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the needs of survivors and avoiding their stigmatization. In order to make psychological, psychosocial and other related health support facilities available to victims of violence, in 2022 ICRC has also invested in equipping two medical centres, renovating their infrastructure and providing financial support and technical training to the staff.

 

Tender procedure for the selection of an outsourcing staff service provider

The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation – AICS Hanoi announces the opening of a simplified procedure foreseen by section 2.6.4 of the “Practical Guide for procurement and grants for European Union external actions (PRAG)” for the selection of a service provider for outsourcing of staff for the abovementioned regional Office with a total contract duration of 25 months.

Interested companies that meet the selection criteria are invited to participate submitting an application to the following address amministrazione.hanoi@aics.gov.it  starting from October 20th, 2023 until November 6th, 2023 at 5pm (Hanoi time: GMT +7). Requests for additional information or clarifications/questions shall be submitted to amministrazione.hanoi@aics.gov.it, Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5pm.

The tender notice with requirements and its annexes can be found at “Notices for the supply of goods and services”. If you are an experienced outsourcing staff service provide you are welcome to apply!

Italy participates to 78th Anniversary Ceremony of Viet Nam Metereological and Hydrological Tradition Day

On October 3rd the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation – AICS participated to the event organized by the Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE): achieved results in the sector were presented. The Department of Metereology and Hydrology of MONRE has modernized weather monitoring stations and its equipment. Furthermore it has enhanced weather and disaster forecasting capacities as well as warning reports to decision makers for the formulation of socio-economic and climate change strategies and urgent actions. On this occasion the Enhanced Weather Forecasting and Flood Early Warning System has been launched.

The Italian support has been highly appreciated. During these years Italy through its cooperation interventions contributed to: increasing the automation levels of meteorological monitoring stations; enhancing the scientific and technological capabilities of the sector to align with those in the Asian region; modernizing communication systems;  augmenting the precision of both short-term and long-term weather forecasts to prevent floods.

On September 25th AICS approved the initiative: “Technical Assistance on strengthening the regulatory framework of the water sector: real-time multi-reservoir operation, which will complement the programme: “Development of a monitoring and decision support platform for the management of the Thai Binh – Red River hydroelectric basin system”.

 

[tchsp id=”6″]

AICS Hanoi’s 2023 half-year report published

The Hanoi Regional Office is pleased to announce the publication of the report for the first half of 2023. You can explore the full report in the “Publications” section or by clicking on the image below. Enjoy reading!

 

AICS Hanoi Office signed the SUPPLY CONTRACT FOR PROVISION OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT) EQUIPMENT AND SUPPORTING SOFTWARE to be delivered to the General Statistics Office of Viet Nam

Within the framework of the Project “Viet Nam – Improvement of National Statistical System” AICS Hanoi Office has recently signed the supply contract for providing IT equipment and supporting software for the General Statistics Office (GSO) of Viet Nam with FPT INTERNATIONAL TELECOM COMPANY LIMITED. The contract aims at improving GSO’s management skills in data collection and processing operations, contributing to the overall objective of the project: strengthening statistical capacities of the General Statistics Office.

AICS Hanoi is glad to share a short video presenting the project “Viet Nam – Improvement of National Statistical System” and its results achieved. On this occasion, a special thanks to the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat) and the General Statistics Office of Viet Nam for the fruitful collaboration and Kool Media which supported AICS Hanoi Office in producing this video.

Click here to see the video with Vietnamese subtitle.