Accepted paper:

Inequality in Myanmar - how evidence is shaping CSOs understanding of their role and ability to tackle inequality


Amy Croome (Oxfam in Myanmar)

Paper short abstract:

Oxfam in Myanmar's inequality report provides a timely, accessible and the first evidence base of existing inequalities in Myanmar, their intersections, causes and potential solutions. It is proving to help foster a conversation amongst CSOs about their role in tackling inequality.

Paper long abstract:

At the DSA, as a recognized knowledge broker on inequality, Oxfam is proposing a paper summarizing findings from its Myanmar inequality report. Oxfam is inviting CSOs to deepen an ongoing conversation on their role in tacking inequality amidst the political transition.

Numerous inequalities are threatening to further divide an already fractured Myanmar. According to Oxfam's research, the gap between the rich and poor is widening - few have become extremely wealthy, while most live below or around the poverty line - and the voices of ethnic minorities and women are routinely ignored. Conflict and instability are fueling these inequalities, which Oxfam is in a unique position to demonstrate given its humanitarian and development work in fragile areas of Myanmar. Oxfam in Myanmar's inequality report - the first of its kind - finds the "vertical inequalities" such as income and wealth and "horizontal inequalities" like ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability are deeply embedded.

Our evidence suggests progressive taxation; public service provision and worker's rights - all areas in need of significant improvements in Myanmar - are pathways to reducing some types of inequalities. Still emerging from decades of military rule, CSOs continue to play an important role in providing services as well as defending human rights, especially in ethnic minority areas. However, contrary to many people's expectations in the ongoing transition towards democracy, civic space is shrinking, which is impacting CSOs' ability to tackle inequality effectively. This means a concrete dialogue between those actively working to reduce inequality in Myanmar is vital.

panel A01
The role of civil society in addressing inequalities in developing countries (Paper)