SMART Myanmar launches 2nd phase of European Union funded project

SMART Myanmar held a kick-off launch event on 19 January at the UMFCCI with approximately 200 guests from factories, embassies and other stakeholders, according to a press release on the 20 January.

More than 200 guests gathered at the UMFCCI on Tuesday to listen to speeches by the Ambassador of the European Union, Mr. Roland Kobia and Director General U Win Shein from the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security’s Factory Inspections Department, as well as several of the partners of the SMART Myanmar project.

SMART Myanmar is an EU-funded SWITCH Asia project focused on making social and environmental improvements in Myanmar’s garment industry. From 2013-2015 the project engaged with dozens of local garment factories on social & environmental compliance issues, providing technical support and capacity building. As well, the project assisted in boosting the capacity of business associations, helping the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) develop its staff capacity and draft a first-ever Code of Conduct for its members, as well as providing professional support for both the MGMA and the UMFCCI.

Following on the successful implementation of activities during the first 3 years, SMART Myanmar has launched a new 4-year project phase which will expand and accelerate some of the previous activities – such as assistance to factories on social compliance and human resources management – as well as introducing entirely new activities related to promoting sustainable production and transparency in procurement practices in Myanmar.

“Garment has quickly emerged as the star sector in Myanmar’s economy. The growth numbers of the sector are impressive, not least thanks to the trade preferences granted by the EU. Exporting to Europe creates an incentive for Myanmar companies and authorities to step up their quality and management. This is a huge opportunity for economic development provided that the benefits are shared among all and that the environment can be preserved.” Mr. Roland Kobia, Ambassador of the European Union to Myanmar said.

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