A high-level consultative meeting on ASEAN humanitarian assistance to Myanmar will be chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn and ASEAN secretary-general Lim Jock Hoi on May 6.

The meeting will enable ASEAN to initiate a multi-stakeholder dialogue that provides guidance on how to advance assistance to the people of Myanmar based on humanitarian principles and without discrimination.

It aims to discuss mutually agreeable solutions on how to enhance the delivery of humanitarian assistance while leaving no one behind.

It will also address operational challenges faced by the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) and how to support the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines to the communities there.

Sokhonn is ASEAN chair’s special envoy on Myanmar while Lim is acting in the capacity of ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator (SG-AHAC) to co-chair the meeting via videoconference in Phnom Penh.

It will be attended physically and virtually by ASEAN member representatives and external partners, UN specialised agencies, and other relevant international organisations, the ministry said in a press release on May 5.

On May 2, Prime Minister Hun Sen urged Myanmar leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of the ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to facilitate effective and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance, particularly in conflict areas.

Hun Sen said humanitarian assistance not only alleviated people’s suffering but also supported efforts to de-escalate violence and build trust to engender an inclusive peace dialogue.

At the meeting held online, Min Aung Hlaing affirmed SAC’s readiness to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian assistance, initially in two pilot areas before expanding to five regions and states that have been identified as priority areas.

Hun Sen welcomed SAC’s cooperation on the delivery of humanitarian reliefs and vaccination campaigns in pilot areas.

With regards to the consultative meeting on May 6, Min Aung Hlaing confirmed that the chairman of Myanmar’s task force for coordinating humanitarian assistance will lead a delegation to attend the event.

Heng Kimkong, a visiting senior research fellow at the Cambodia Development Centre, said it is important that Cambodia as ASEAN chair works collaboratively with the ASEAN Secretariat to address the Myanmar crisis and support the Myanmar people who are in need.

“Tackling the Myanmar crisis requires collaboration and partnership from all stakeholders.

“Cambodia should take this opportunity to show the region and the world that it can do great things despite being a small country with limited resources and capacity,” he said.