Strengthening Accountable Citizen-State Relations in Myanmar Using an Issue
In October 2014, the Rakhine State Parliament passed a new Freshwater Fisheries Law. It is the culmination of a two-year collaborative process initiated and supported by Pyoe Pin and is a strong demonstration of the strengths of Thinking and Working Politically.
The Rakhine Fisheries Partnership facilitated the new law by bringing fisher communities, businesses, civil society and government to work together for the first time. The legislation safeguards fairer access to resources with community fishery associations. Through piloting, the law provides a framework to improve sustainability, increase revenues and support livelihoods development in the state. The law is now being fully enacted with support from six multi-stakeholder task forces.
In Rakhine, conflict and exclusion have been prevalent in recent years. The collaborative process has brokered improved relations between diverse communities as well as with policy makers and elected representatives. It has developed a rules-based system for the fisheries sector that commits Rakhine to more equitable access to, and sharing of, resources. In particular, economic opportunity for the poor. By working with a range of partners, aligning common interests, it has also helped reduce conflict by inspiring greater unity in Rakhine’s currently divided society.
Sensitive resource sharing and land reform are central to alleviating conflict and building confidence in Rakhine. It has already been replicated at both state and national level and is also the basis for a model to support Myanmar’s wider peace process.