Spaces that promote informal and open political discussion are crucial in Myanmar’s ongoing democratic transition. The DRI Chatham-House Rule roundtable series aims to provide such a space for key stakeholders to candidly discuss relevant topics in the ongoing peace process, complementing official negotiations. These roundtables serve as a rare opportunity for stakeholders to informally and freely exchange ideas, without the expectation of formal commitments. On 12 November 2017, STEP Partner Democracy Reporting International (DRI) held its fourth multi-stakeholder roundtable, as part of an ongoing event series. This session included representatives from the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Commission, the Hluttaws, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, signatory Ethnic Armed Organizations, political party leaders, legal experts and various CSO leaders.
Although CSOs are not formally incorporated into official peace negotiations, many CSO members and activists still contribute to the process by working as expert consultants or conducting research on behalf of actors that are part of the official negotiations. The DRI roundtables allow stakeholders to discuss their findings, ideas and recommendations with a diverse group of peers. As one participant stated, “The commitments achieved during the previous Union Peace Conference are quite broad. Further dialogue is necessary to transform these commitments into tangible working principles. This workshop serves as a vital space for free and open dialogue on next steps in Myanmar’s political dialogue.