Adviser to the UN in Myanmar
Linnéa Lindberg is on secondment from FBA to the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Myanmar, where she serves as Peace and Development Specialist. She lives and works in the biggest city Yangon.
Poverty is widespread in Myanmar after 50 years of military rule and isolation from the surrounding world. Several conflicts are ongoing between ethnic minority groups and the military. The UN Resident Coordinator’s Office coordinates UN’s efforts in the country. Activities aim at improving living conditions for the population, and at strengthening human rights and democracy in order to contribute to peacebuilding and statebuilding.
Linnéa, what are you doing at work?
– Everything! My work is incredibly diverse and every day is different. For the past two years, my main focus has been on how the UN best can integrate human rights in our work related to peace and conflict. Myanmar is a complex and multifaceted country with an active conflict alongside humanitarian and development needs. So, human rights have to be part of everything we do. I support the Resident Coordintor, which means that I produce information, write background materials and talking points, coordinate and hold meetings about the topics we work with.
What does your daily life in Yangon look like?
– I recently came back to Myanmar from parental leave so everyday life outside of work is pretty much the same as being a parent in Sweden with diaper changes, being awake at night and making sure that our home is child-proof! Unfortunately the air quality is poor in Yangon so we don’t spend much time outdoors with our daughter. But despite this it’s a good place when you have small children, with plenty of activities for families. Before our daughter came I sang in a choir and practiced yoga.
What did you do before this assignment for FBA?
– I have worked abroad for ten years. Human rights has been a theme throughout my carreer. I started as a volunteer in Cambodia and joined the UN system via the High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHCHR. I have also been seconded from FBA to Liberia where I worked with rule of law and national reconciliation for the peacebuilding mission UNMIL. After some months in Colombia and the Philippines I came here. I am a legal expert, specialized in human rights at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Lund.
You started this mission in 2016. How would you summarize these years?
– My time here has been amazing and I have developed both as a person and in my profession. I have really worked a lot – late nights and weekends. But there are few workplaces where you are fortunate enough to deal with such a variety of things. Sometimes the issues are very serious, but I feel that I can make a difference. Due to all challenges we are confronted with, all tough decisions we have to take and how we always have to be one step ahead, my feeling is that nothing is impossible.