Region and State Hluttaw Leaders Convene at the Third Leadership Seminar, find ways to improve effectiveness

May 14, 2018

Daw Susanna Hla Hla Soe, MP, Amyotha Hluttaw at a panel discusson during the leadership seminar. Photo: Yamon Phu Thit

Speakers and Deputy Speakers returned home to their State and Region Hluttaws  (Parliaments), equipped with knowledge on how to better deliver on their strategic development priorities after a two-day leadership seminar held in Nay Pyi Taw.

Building on the success of two similar events held in 2016 and 2017, this seminar specifically targeted ways of implementing the Hluttaw Strategic Development plans  drafted over the past year, focusing on professional development support to members of Parliament and Hluttaw staff, as well as developing parliamentary committees.

“Our Parliament is still very young and we have much to learn, ”said U T Khun Myatt, Speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw as he opened the seminar. He added that in many ways, the Union-level Hluttaw was facing similar challenges as the State and Region Hluttaws are facing now.

New Structure, New Staff and Need for New skills
To date, seven of the 14 Region and State Hluttaws have developed strategic development plans that outline ways in which the Hluttaws can increase their effectiveness. These plans define the priorities for the services that Hluttaw administrations provide to MPs, the plenary and the committees  - such as research support and legal drafting support. The plans take into account the ramifications of the Region and State Hluttaw administration reform.

Under this reform, which came into effect last year in April, the new Region and State Hluttaw administrations were linked to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw administration, effectively becoming part of the Union Civil Service.

All State and Region Hluttaws recruited new staff many of whom have no prior parliamentary experience. At the seminar it was decided that they will be trained through joint programmes relying on the support of the Myanmar Hluttaw Learning Centre, established with UNDP support in 2015. The seminar provided an opportunity to discuss in great detail the various professional development needs for staff.

U Kyi Soe, Deputy Speaker of Tanintharyi Region Hluttaw said, “With the new structure, we have recruited a lot of new staff and they need skills and knowledge to support our Hluttaw effectively. By using the knowledge from this workshop, we will identify the specific needs of our region and provide necessary training to staff.”
 
Starting the Practice of Committee Inquiry
The seminar also focused on committee development at the Union-level and State and Region Hluttaws and explored ways of committee inquiries using an international best-practice approach.

Parliamentary committees are set up to examine issues of specific focus in greater detail. For example, the Public Accounts Committee examines government budget and expenditure and enhances government transparency. Committees can initiate inquiries on issues of public interest and report to the Hluttaw plenary with recommendations that are then put to the government for their consideration.

“Throughout the seminar, I had a chance to exchange knowledge on how Hluttaw committees can have better oversight on the governing bodies. We also discussed the roles and responsibilities of the committees and how to develop committees for better law-making and oversight. When we get back to our State, we will take reference from what we have learned from this seminar,” said Dr Aung Naing Oo, Deputy Speaker of Mon State Hluttaw.

UNDP’s Continued Commitment to Parliamentary Development
Speaking at the opening of the seminar, UNDP Country Director Peter Batchelor said UNDP has been a reliable partner for Myanmar’s parliaments since 2012. “In our new country programme 2018-2022 we will continue our support to Union-level and Region and State Hluttaws,” he stated.

The seminar was held at the Myanmar Hluttaw Learning Centre in Nay Pyi Taw and attended by 42 participants. In addition to Speakers and Deputy Speakers from States and Regions, it included Deputy Director-Generals of the Hluttaw administrations.

It was delivered by UNDP and other invited experts including Janelle Saffin, former Member of Parliament from the Australian House of Representatives and New South Wales Provincial Parliament, and Sara Edson, a Committee Specialist from the Australian House of Representatives.

During 2013 – 2017, UNDP’s work in the area of parliamentary development was made possible through funding from Australia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

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