Banner Image: 
Myanmar banner

In Myanmar we work with local actors, external investors and the international community to shape a peaceful economy.

We bring together local business actors to deepen their understanding of conflict-sensitive business practice, so that they can have a positive impact on investment plans. We also strengthen local capacities to monitor and influence private sector investment, both internal and external, in fragile regions.

Our work is important because many new opportunities for investors and aid agencies have arisen following the dropping of economic sanctions and it is vital that this economic development supports peace.

We have been working in Myanmar since 2012.


In 2010 the military rulers in Myanmar (formerly Burma) embarked on a transition process that has led to a gradual loosening of its authoritarian hold over the country. There are signs that this process might bring about the social, economic and political reforms necessary to finally establish conditions for peace in the country.

In 1987 and again in 2007, protest and violent conflict triggered by acute economic hardship ushered in renewed political settlements in Myanmar. As the country opens its doors to the West in exchange for investment opportunities and commitments to economic and political reform, new political settlements are once again being reached. This presents an opportunity to break the cycle of renewed military control that has characterised much of the country’s development over the past 50 years or so.

However, such change will not happen overnight. New expressions of violence are evident and inequality is likely to increase before decreasing. New elements of democratic governance are combining with old authoritarian attitudes and practices to create challenging and often unpredictable conditions for change. Nevertheless, the context offers real opportunities for peace.

To help achieve lasting peace in Myanmar, the state, civil society and international community need support in establishing platforms which encourage more open and inclusive dialogue and debate. These need to be supportive of social reformers within the state, appeal to the ‘shadow authorities’ which govern the so called ‘ungoverned spaces’ of Myanmar’s vast informal economy, include the local business community, involve women, and adopt nuanced approaches which can tackle the taboos people are unwilling to talk about. Priority regions for such platforms are the country’s special economic zones, where much of the new investment and development is taking place.

Encouraging tourism after conflict

International Alert is conducting a comparative analysis of how to improve tourism in post-conflict settings for the Government of Punjab in Pakistan.


Investing in peace in Myanmar

International Alert has contributed to a two-day workshop with the private sector in Myanmar exploring how the adoption of responsible business practices is crucial to supporting sustainable development in the country.

Local development in Myanmar

This project aims to support the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to integrate conflict sensitivity and social cohesion responsiveness into poverty eradication and local development programmes in Myanmar. We will provide knowledge-management, capacity development and policy support, including researching international and Myanmar-specific good practice, designing and delivering training to national actors, and designing an indicator framework for conflict-sensitive and social-cohesion responsive local development in Myanmar.

Conflict-sensitive forest governance in Myanmar

This project aims to support more ‘conflict-sensitive’ approaches to forestry management and governance in Myanmar. We are advising, accompanying and building the capacity of key government departments, businesses and civil society, so they can better implement governance and market reforms through the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) voluntary partnership agreement (VPA) negotiations between the European Union and the government of Myanmar.

The central issues of peace in Myanmar

Henri Myrttinen talking about his experience of working on men and masculinitiesAs the results from the historic November elections in Myanmar were still trickling in, International Alert hosted its first public talk of what is planned to be a series of events on issues central to the peace processes that the new

Men and gender in the peace process: Are they worlds apart?

This blog was co-authored with Cate Buchanan and originally published in The Myanmar Times on 25 November 2015. Men are on the front lines of war. They are fighters, negotiators and peacebuilders. They are victims and survivors of violence and intimidation, aid givers, media and by-standers. Yet in spite of their ubiquity, their own gendered identity as men – and how this affects conflict and peace – is seldom discussed in peace talks, policymaking and research.

Promoting peaceful development in Myanmar

Myanmar is a country in transition. Since 2010, a series of democratic reforms have opened up the country to new opportunities. There is hope that this process might bring about the social, economic and political reforms necessary to finally establish conditions for peace in the country, after decades of civil war and authoritarian rule.


was a watershed moment for Myanmar, as the country's military rulers started to gradually loosen their authoritarian hold over the country and open it up to economic investment.

Building peace in Kyauk Phyu

This project aimed to influence new forms of collaboration around the fledgling foreign investment and economic development in Kyauk Phyu, in Myanmar's Rakhine state. The project helped to develop the capacity of new institutions to monitor and steer economic development in a way that appeals to local needs as well as to foreign investors and the national government. Activities included courses in conflict-sensitive economic governance.