30 May 2019
Actions to improve rights for business, peace and sustainable development, as well as to build better business landscape by applying international standards are in full swing in Myanmar.
Myanmar Responsible business and human rights forum convenes in Yangon on Thursday.
The forum will provide a space for dialogue between governments, business, academia, civil society and international organizations on trends, challenges and good practices to further support rights-respecting businesses.
International experts highlighted on the human rights violations, actions that the local businesses need to address to meet the international standard and government actions to promote the responsible business in the country.
Director, Myanmar centre for Responsible Business, Vicky Bowman said "... I think what was important messages we heard this morning, particularly, American and the EU Ambassadors which is the foreign investors are looking for good Myanmar business partners. And what they mean by good is not just commercially good but business partners that share their value want to do business ethically without corruption, without labor violations and safely as well. I mean we don't hear enough about safety. ... And I think that something where Myanmar businesses really will need to step up... What we often see here is that the government actually spends more times focus on the one which is doing fine. And not enough time focusing on the one which are breaking the law. That's gradually changing…”
Industry players also share their efforts to build the better business landscape to do business.
Joint Secretary General, UMFCCI, Khine Khine New said “We would like to prove that Myanmar is now on the right track for the business by showing how private sectors are working closely with concerned organizations and policy makers to be able to meet the international standards to do business. According to the official statistics, there are over 500 factories in Myanmar garment industry, over 200 of them follow and practice the international compliances in doing business. We are also finished discussion with ILO to conduct labor audit survey in Myanmar’s garment industry in coming June.”
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, Aung Naing Oo said “There are many approaches that we’ve been doing to encourage responsible business practices. When we look at our new Myanmar investment law, there are rules for every business that has MIC permit should be doing an annual sustainability report on how they are investing with responsibility. MIC also has responsibility business conduct that we work together with international organizations. We also conduct many kinds of awareness raising projects, campaign and work closely together with industry players to promote responsible business, human rights, labour rights, environment and anti-corruption.”
The forum will continue until Friday, and it will include panel discussions and interactive thematic sessions on topics that relate to responsible business conduct, human rights, labor rights issues, as well as current business-related sustainable development issues in Myanmar and what can be done for the future.