Bangladesh PRRO 10045.4 will assist refugees from Myanmar sheltering in Kutupalong and Nayapara refugee camps in the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh. The refugees are of the ‘Rohingya’ ethnic minority and mostly came to Bangladesh in 1991 following religious and ethnic persecution in Myanmar. The refugees are restricted from being involved in income earning activities and obtaining higher education in Bangladesh, and are thus dependent on humanitarian assistance for their survival. Existing WFP activities to be continued under this new phase of the PRRO include General Food Distribution, Supplementary and Therapeutic Feeding and School Snacks. Additional activities will also be initiated to support livelihood development through the distribution of grants along with other non-food and training inputs.
In June 2008, a UNHCR-WFP Joint Assessment Mission (JAM) was undertaken, with the participation of the Government of Bangladesh. The mission recommended that humanitarian agencies step up their efforts to assist the refugees to become self reliant. The Mission’s findings form the basis for this new phase of the PRRO. WFP will strengthen its approach in terms of livelihood and self-reliance activities to pave the way for long term solutions, in partnership with UNHCR and other partners. UNHCR and the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh, along with the Dhaka Steering Group comprising a number of diplomatic missions, are advocating with the Government of Bangladesh to create conditions for the refugees to achieve self-reliance in Bangladesh until the situation in Myanmar is conducive to repatriation.
WFP’s assistance to the Myanmar refugees, which is being carried out at the request of the Government of Bangladesh (GoB), is part in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework for Bangladesh (UNDAF 2006-2010) and contributes to fulfil WFP’s Strategic Objectives 1 to save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies; WFP Strategic Objective 3 torestore and rebuild lives livelihoods in post-conflict, post-disaster or transition situations andStrategic Objectives 4, to reduce chronic hunger and under nutrition. These objectives of thePRRO support the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 1 (Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger), MDG 2 (Achieve universal primary education), MDG 4 (Reduce child mortality) and MDG 5 (Improve maternal health). There is a clear need to continue international humanitarian support to the refugees, as the host-government, local communities and NGOs do not have the means to substitute the inputs now provided by WFP.
The phasing out of WFP food assistance is contingent upon the refugees attaining self-reliance which is heavily dependent on GoB policy. Until an agreement is reached between UNHCR, the GoB and the Government of the Union of Myanmar (GOUM) on the future of the Rohingya refugees, WFP considers that a concrete exit plan is premature.
It is therefore recommended that a new phase of the PRRO be approved for a further 24 months, from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2010.