First, as an addendum to my colleague's answer on the question of NGO access, we have, through our CIDA border areas programming, just a very small window on a slice of life in Burma as seen from the border, and we work indirectly with over 50 NGOs based in border areas in the neighbouring countries, principally Thailand but also in the other neighbouring countries. What we are hearing anecdotally from some of them is that they are seeing some improvement in their ability to do things. Some of them are people who go in and out of Burma. Some media organizations that we support report that their websites are no longer blocked in Burma. They can track where the visits to their websites are coming from and they're seeing a definite increase in the traffic on their websites from readers within Burma, so that's encouraging.
At the same time, access is a really big issue for anyone wanting to help in Burma, especially in the border regions and in those places where ceasefire arrangements have not been concluded yet. It's very difficult to get to populations in these border regions. Typically they are so-called ethnic minority populations and it's very hard to access them from within Burma. It can also be difficult to access them from outside, of course.
We have anecdotal stories of some definite changes in the last six months, but still there are huge challenges.
On the question of capacity to assist, in CIDA we are monitoring the developments in Burma very closely. We're encouraged by the changes that have taken place. We have been providing humanitarian assistance, as I mentioned in my statement, and we have been providing assistance to the communities of displaced persons and refugees in the border areas.
CIDA is not opening a bilateral program in Burma at this time. We're monitoring the situation closely. We have staff in the region in Southeast Asia who are in touch with other donor agencies—the UN agencies as well as the international financial institutions, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, and bilateral donor agencies, countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, and the U.S. We are in touch with them about what they are doing, but as Mr. Giokas mentioned, the Canadian capacity to be involved on the ground is extremely limited at this time.