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Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Cooperation between France and Burma is on the rise, fuelled by political changes taking place in the country. The visit to Burma by France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs in January 2012 gave renewed impetus to cooperation between the two countries. In the course of the visit, Alain Juppé announced the tripling of bilateral French aid to Burma, focusing on four main areas:

humanitarian and emergency aid :

-  development aid;
-  support for NGOs and Burmese civil society;
-  development of cultural relations.
-  On 22 March 2012, the French Development Agency (AFD) was given the authorisation to operate in the country for a period of four years (under a "post-crisis country" mandate).

In 2011, our overall cooperation budget stood at €370,000, much of it given over to cultural and linguistic cooperation via the Institut Français in Burma (http://www.institutfrancais-birmanie) (520 students), which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011, and the French Centre in Mandalay (150 students).

Initiatives by the Institut Français, a privileged forum for exchange and dialogue, also have their part to play in encouraging political change supported by close contact with civil society.

France has provided support to Burmese civil society since 2008, by means of a specific programme of support for micro-projects (annual programme with a budget of some €100,000).

From 2012, a new Social Fund for Development (FSD) with a budget of €500,000 over three years will make it possible to step up support for initiatives by civil society , focusing in five priorities: building local capacity in agricultural production, environmental protection aimed at responsible and sustainable development, education, health and the establishment of fundamental human rights with special priority given to local democracy and freedom of expression.

France is also financing projects in the field of food security, at a cost of between €500,000 and €800,000 annually, as well as providing emergency aid. In the wake of the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis in May 2008, France spared no effort in coming to the aid of the victims, releasing an aid package of €2 million to fund the work of various NGOs active on the ground, in addition to initiatives launched by the European Union.

France has also long been involved in ongoing medical cooperation, particularly in the training of doctors (specialising in HIV/AIDS) and the twinning of French and Burmese hospitals (hospital partnerships). Research partnerships (Institut Pasteur, Fondation Mérieux, IRD) could be developed in the future.

In the wake of Mr. Juppé’s visit, France’s Roving Ambassador for Culture in Asia Jacques Valade met Burma’s Minister of Culture and Information Kyaw San in Nay Pyi Daw, to discuss the development of cultural relations (heritage, cinema, museum design, etc.). This was followed by yet another visit, this time by Guillaume Boudy, Secretary General of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, in March 2012.

Updated on 01.01.13

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