Takeaways from Aid & Development Asia Summit: Technology & Partnerships
The 3rd annual Aid & Development Asia Summit was held in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on 14-15 June 2017 at the Myanmar International Convention Centre 2 (MICC-2). The two day summit attracted more than 300 high-profile participants from the government, national and international NGOs, businesses, UN organisations, donors and media. Following the success of the previous Summit at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, this year’s event zoomed in on current initiatives and latest trends around procurement, technology and innovation in Southeast Asia’s aid and development sector, with a focus on Myanmar.
The Summit featured 17 exhibitors showcasing cutting-edge products and services that support the progress of Sustainable Development Goals and help save lives of disaster victims. Amongst them were Procter & Gamble, HemoCue, NRS International, Okkar Thiri Co. Ltd., Aquatabs, B Medical Systems, Envirofit, Imerys, Toyota Gibraltar Stockholdings Ltd., Inmarsat, Dulas, GIZ and IIRR.
Day one, 14th June, offered an update on policies and regional programmes in food security, climate-smart agriculture, community resilience, disaster preparedness, infrastructure and education.
The opening keynote address was given by Dr Tin Htut, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation, Myanmar. Peter Batchelor, Country Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) set the scene with a presentation on aid and development trends in Myanmar and Southeast Asia. The conference was then split into two parallel streams, with agriculture & resilience in one room and infrastructure & education in another. Networking lunch offered participants the opportunity to engage with like-minded delegates in meaningful discussions at different themed lunch tables.
“The Aid & Development Asia Summit 2017 is very useful for us because it informative concerning the topics of aid and how to develop in one's field” - U Kyaw Larim, A.D. of Department of Planning, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Myanmar
“As well as the content of discussion, I could establish a wide variety of network with people from the various fields. Thank you for your invitation and providing such wonderful opportunity to ADB” - Hiroki Kasahara, Senior Financing Partnerships Specialist, Asian Development Bank
The day concluded with a panel on how to build effective cross-sector partnerships needed to improve aid delivery and development strategy in the region. U Tun Tun Naing, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Planning and Finance, Myanmar delivered closing remarks which were followed by the drinks reception at the exhibition area. Here, the audience was exposed to latest technologies and innovative solutions.
“The discussions were very interesting and the new contacts from private sectors will improve our humanitarian responses in future. Thank you very much for organizing the forum” - Minn Naing Oo, Country Coordinator, Malteser International
“It was a pleasant and enlightening experience for me, and I believe, for many development workers who participated in it” - Sid Naing, Country Director, Marie Stopes
The second day of the Summit, 15th June, was dedicated to technology innovations and best practice in data strategy and mobile-based initiatives in Myanmar, as well as building Asia’s capacity to meet health SDGs and deal with public health threats. Dr That Zin Htoo, Assistant Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Sports, Myanmar gave an opening keynote speech. The panellists in the sessions that followed shared latest developments in maternal and child health, WASH practices, disease prevention and nutrition. Addressing challenges of humanitarian logistics and safety of aid workers, update on cash-based programmes, enabling policies that drive digital and financial inclusion in Southeast Asia were also discussed.
The delegates had an opportunity to take part in topic-specific roundtable discussions, including Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in Asia Pacific with Shashank Mishra, DRR Program Director, UN-Habitat, Emergency Communications with Communities with Simon Gee, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, TechSoup, Food Security: Climate Smart Agriculture with Dr Dindo Campilam, Director for Asia, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), WASH Partnerships and Initiatives with Dr Bella Monse, Senior Advisor, Fit for School, Technical Assistance for Effective School Health, GIZ and Building and Strengthening Partnerships with Dr Myo Myint Aung, Project Director, PATH.
“Useful information and experience; sharing lessons learned among organizations” - May Thlikha Soe, Nutrition Specialist, Plan International Myanmar
“It was a great moment for me. I got a lot of knowledge related to WASH innovations. And it was a valuable event to build a broader networking with the development sector experts around the world” - Than Kyaw Soe, WASH Officer, UNICEF
Mobile technology is evolving to meet the needs of humanitarian and development professionals in order to improve reach and communication with local communities and effectively deliver development assistance. Planet of the Apps, a new feature of the Aid & Development Asia Summit, presented mobile applications that help support SDGs in the region. Showcased apps include Green Way, ReliefWeb, AidHedge, Share The Meal and ETC Reporter.
Over the two days, the Summit participants learned about initiatives and programmes in Southeast Asia, discovered applications of new technologies and established long-lasting partnerships with key stakeholders including government ministers, UN representatives, NGOs and the private sector companies in aid and sustainable development.
“Informative and a needed step to work together” - Ko Ko Kyan, Director, Myanmar Red Cross Society
“Thank you very much for inviting us (MoC) to attend this kind of great event. We got a lot of information and ideas. I believe that our seniors will also use obtained information further in laying down policies and action plans. We appreciate your team for organizing this event”- Ms Thanda Khin, Deputy Director, Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar