Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Successful UN joint effort in highland livelihood concluded in Mae Hong Son

Successful UN joint effort in highland livelihood concluded in Mae Hong Son

Mae Hong Son, Thailand , 31 Jan 2014 -- Today a team of eight UN agencies (FAO, IOM, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNIDO and WHO), coordinated by FAO, handed over a UN joint programme to the Mae Hong Son provincial government for full government ownership for continuation.

The UN Joint programme is aimed at promoting livelihoods of poor villagers in Mae Hong Son province, including members of hill tribes and Myanmar migrant workers, through skills training and capacity development, natural resource management and social protection.

The Joint Programme on Integrated Highland Livelihood Development in Mae Hong Son (UNJP) was launched in 2010 in order to help the authorities deliver improvements to the livelihoods of people in this highland province of Thailand.

In four years, working together as an integrated team that included inputs of local and national authorities and the people of the province, the UNJP has seen new value-added skills and products developed at village level, women becoming more capable of processing raw agricultural materials, better preserved produce and improved access to education and health care services – even in some of the most remote areas.

“This was possible thanks to the great efforts of the Thai government especially the hard-working colleagues and farmers of Mae Hong Son and the contribution of colleagues from all eight UN agencies,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO’s Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative. “It is a great achievement as this has become a model for other countries worldwide.”

“The positive effects also include a greater sense of confidence and self-reliance for development among the target communities as well as the interest and commitment shown by the provincial and local officials to skills development, natural resource management and improved social protection and services.” Konuma added.

The Mae Hong Son Government has, in the past few years, allocated necessary funds to support the UNJP in a number of areas. The Vice Governor, Sutha Saivanich, has indicated he will continue to support the initiatives. 

To assist the central and provincial governments to continue the implementation of the Joint Programme in a sustainable manner after the handover and to replicate the Mae Hong Son model and experiences in other provinces of Thailand or in other countries, an Integrated Livelihood Development and Human Security Framework was developed by the UN Task Force and Provincial Working Group on the Joint Programme. This publication is the culmination of the efforts made by the stakeholders in the past four years and suggested to be widely used by policy and decision-makers as well as development partners.

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