The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), on Monday, agreed with the Government of the Union of Myanmar to extend the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for activities in Rakhine State. The exchange of letters was signed by the Myanmar Ministry of Labor, Immigration, and Population, and by representatives of UNDP and UNHCR in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, and will extend cooperation through June 2021.
The MoU aims at helping create a conducive environment for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh as well as supporting recovery and resilience-based development for the benefit of all communities living in the three northern townships of Rakhine State. This framework for cooperation between the UN and the Government was initially signed on June 6, 2018, and previously extended in May 2019.
Welcoming the extension of the agreement, UNDP and UNHCR commented,"While the environment in Rakhine State is not yet conducive to the voluntary repatriation of refugees, the MoU has allowed UNHCR and UNDP teams to assess the immediate needs in over 120 villages so far in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships. We have consulted over 2,600 people on their communities' priorities, ensuring that the projects will best meet their needs and serve to promote social cohesion between communities."
Since the initial MoU was signed in 2018, a total of 75 quick impact projects (QIPs) have been approved, including for community infrastructure such as water improvement, school and road rehabilitation, skills training and income-generating projects, as well as projects targeting persons with speciﬁc needs. A seventh-round of assessments is now proceeding but constrained due to the Covid-19 situation. Efforts are underway to raise awareness within the communities about Covid-19 prevention.