Letters to the Editor — August, 2011
covering burma and southeast asia
Saturday, June 15, 2024

Letters to the Editor — August, 2011

By THE IRRAWADDY Monday, August 29, 2011

(Page 4 of 20)

Second, during this time The Irrawaddy has not in our view effectively delivered on agreed targets nor convincingly demonstrated a clear commitment towards that end. It is these two observations—combined with a need to prioritize between an increasing number of project proposals and potential partners—that have led the Embassy to the conclusion that in 2011 we are not able to contribute to the process of helping The Irrawaddy increase its financial sustainability, a process to which we have dedicated considerable resources over the years.

The Embassy’s concerns have been discussed with The Irrawaddy on several occasions, and in a meeting on September 22nd The Irrawaddy was informed of our conclusion concerning funding for 2011. The Embassy subsequently informed other donors as part of the natural and ongoing information exchange and coordination that takes place between donors supporting the same organization in order to enhance transparency, aid effectiveness and cost-efficiency.

In your editorial, you also mention another organization, which has received funding from the Government of Denmark, namely the Danish Burma Committee.

While I, as a matter of principle, do not wish to make detailed comments on matters that are unrelated to Danish support to The Irrawaddy, I would like to underline that any project partner of the Danish Government commits itself to upholding certain principles and following certain guidelines for the management, supervision and auditing of its activities and expenditures, including those of its project partners. I can confirm that there are ongoing investigations as to whether the Danish Burma Committee has lived up to its obligations in this regard. As a consequence, further funding to the Danish Burma Committee cannot be considered until the matter is resolved. It is unfortunate that this situation also affects other project partners of the Danish Burma Committee. It is a matter that the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs actively is looking to resolve.

It is obvious that you are dissatisfied with the Danish Embassy’s decision to not include The Irrawaddy in our project portfolio for 2011; a decision that could of course be subject to renewed consideration should The Irrawaddy in the future show needed progress on and demonstrate commitment towards pursuing agreed targets.

I would have preferred to continue the close dialogue between The Irrawaddy and the Embassy rather than enter into a public debate on the nature and details of contractual agreements between our two organizations, but I sincerely hope that I with this letter have brought some clarity to the apparent misunderstandings in your accounts regarding the Danish support to Burma in general and The Irrawaddy in specific.

Michael Sternberg,

Related Link: “Burma Betrayed?” [Oct.

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