Government Officials Explore Ways to Strengthen Machinery of Government and Policy Development Processes in Myanmar

Feb 28, 2018

The programme included a very practical approach, with role plays and groups exercises to design policies in accordance to international and regional good practices.

A professional development programme on Improving the Machinery of Government and Policy Making for Better Service Delivery was conducted from 21 to 28 February in Nay Pyi Taw.

The programme targeted executive and senior government officials, and focused on raising awareness in four key areas: machinery of government; core government functions; principles of democratic governance; and parliamentary oversight. It was attended by 90 Deputy Directors General and Directors, who had the opportunity to work in groups on the policy development cycle and identify opportunities to improve the process in Government. 

Machinery of government refers to the structures of government, their functions and governance arrangements, and how they work together to deliver results to the public.  Machinery of government is therefore the basis of good governance and can be very important in contexts like Myanmar where the whole State and administration is in a state of change and reform.

Engaging the three branches of Government
At its launch last week, H.E Dr Win Thein, the Chairperson of Union Civil Service Board said, “This Professional Development Programme is conducted with the prospect of engaging all of you, representing the three branches of government in enhancing the machinery of government in Myanmar.  I do hope that this training will allow you to identify current policy making processes and practices and develop objectives to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of administrative processes, which would ultimately aim at improving performance of the overall public sector.”

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director, Peter Batchelor said, “Regulating and improving the interaction between the three branches of government, and within the various levels of government – from Union to Township levels in the case of Myanmar – and ensuring a strong coordination within government institutions and between the government and civil society and the private sector is a pre-requisite of an effective Machinery of Government that allows for public policies to be developed for the good of all people.”

Participants increase knowledge
 Participants highlighted the relevance of the professional development programme and the importance of evidence-based policy making, cross-agency collaboration leading to a whole of government approach and public and stakeholders’ participation, to improve public sector performance and service delivery.

One of the participants, U Ba Kaung, Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) said the programme promoted a more open relationship between the officials.

“The younger generations in the civil service want to change the way we are performing, form very top-down style to an inclusive one. But we need to be assured that the leadership is willing to allow us to implement this change, only then the civil servants can become confident to change. I believe that this Professional Development Programme is one of such initiatives.”

Daw Yin Yin Swe, Director in the Union Attorney General’s Office joined the civil service in 1979. She appreciated the topics around policy development and effective implementation of policy, especially in relation to the Civil Service Reform Strategic Action Plan, launched in July last year. The Plan is a blueprint for extensive reforms which will ensure the civil service is more ethical, better reflects the diversity of the country, and is effectively able to help address the complex challenges of peace, national reconciliation, and development that confront Myanmar. “I will apply the knowledge about international benchmarks and standards to promote meritocracy in my department,” she stated.

The professional development programme was delivered by a number of international experts including Ms. Janelle Saffin, Former Member of Parliament at State and Federal level in Australia, Professor Andrew Podger, Former Public Service Commissioner of Australia, and Mr. Ryan Orange, Former Deputy Commissioner of New Zealand’s State Services Commission.

This activity is part of UNDP’s Support to Effective and Responsive Institutions Project (SERIP); it was made possible with financial support from Australia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.


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