Myanmar talks good local governance
Representatives from Government of Myanmar, civil society representative, academic institutions, Members of Parliament, as well as development partners discussed local governance at a national conference on “Good Local Governance and People-Centered Services – What Can We Learn from Best Practices in the Region?”
The conference that took place in Nay Pi Taw on 17-18 August 2013 was one of the first occasions on which local governance has been discussed openly among different partners at the same time. It provided an excellent opportunity to share experiences and best practices on enabling good local governance, and the applicability of such examples in Myanmar. The participation of so many different stakeholders was a breakthrough in terms of initiating a new type of discourse on governance in Myanmar, and providing a basis for future multi-stakeholder partnerships.
Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR and Nepal shared their regional experiences on how they have managed transitions. There were also discussions around the preconditions that are required to enable and support ongoing reforms. In addition to the exchanges of knowledge and experiences, the Government of Myanmar endorsed a methodology for the Local Governance Mapping, which has been developed over the past months by UNDP Myanmar with the assistance of international experts, and thus enabling the roll-out of the exercise, initially in six States, and by the end of 2014, in all States.
The Local Governance Mapping will collect inputs by combining quantitative and qualitative methods, using Citizen Report Cards, Community Dialogue and Local Governance Self-Assessment Tools. Its objectives are:
- To provide an overview on the present status of governance arrangements at township and state level, and the quality of service delivery within selected service areas; and
- To Identify related capacity needs of government and non-government stakeholders to play their role in the ongoing reform process.
The conference was co-organized by the President’s Office, the Ministry of Home Affairs, UNDP Myanmar, and supported by the UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre. It was one of the milestones within the new country programme of UNDP Myanmar, specifically the work on Local Governance, which has been developed in support of ongoing reforms in Myanmar. In a widely publicized speech to Parliament in June 2012, President Thein Sein emphasised the importance of the sub-national level entities for the ongoing reform and for economic development. More recently, on August 9, 2013, he further stressed that “…These reforms reflect the desires of the people. The desires of the people are desires and objectives of the government as well.”
Programme Specialist - Local Governance