Comprehensive Nation Wide Data Collection Provides Evidence for Future Development DirectionFeb 27, 2015
A ground breaking, nation-wide series of reports mapping the present local governance structures and analysing peoples’ access to basic services and information and their perception of Myanmar’s reform process was launched the capital Nay Pyi Taw this week.
The State of Local Governance reports produced for Myanmar’s 14 Regions and States are the result of a collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the General Administration Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs and provides first hand insights how the Government’s people-centered development approaches through civic participation, clean government and greater autonomy for state/region government in Myanmar are being experienced at the grassroots level.
The findings of the report were gathered by teams which visited 56 townships across Myanmar and gathered the voices of more than 5000 people through citizens’ report cards, interviews with basic service providers such as nurses and teachers and village and township administrators, as well as community dialogues which brought these two parties together to discuss common challenges and help find solutions together. The local governance mapping, as the exercise was known, took place from September 2013 and concluded in January this year.
Speaking at the launch of the reports that took place during the Myanmar Governance Forum, UNDP Country Director, Toily Kurbanov said that the local governance mapping exercise was of an unprecedented scale and speed.
“This huge effort allowed us to get an in-depth understanding of strengths and weaknesses of local governance in the country; to understand the factors within them and around them in order to improve the lives of more than 50 million citizens of this great land,” said Mr. Kurbanov.
“Based on the results and findings of the local governance mapping, prioritized people-centred services and methods, frameworks and processes to strengthen local governance could be developed,” said Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, H. E Brigadier General Kyaw Zan Myint.
While the findings of the report differ in details for each region and state, there are a number of cross country findings. Firstly, the local authorities at all levels are going beyond their traditional role of maintaining law and order to provide better services to the population. This is reflected in wide perceptions of improved service delivery. Secondly, the people of Myanmar are already giving direction to local governance as measured by rate of participation in public consultations.
However, in spite of overall positive trends, there are still areas requiring focus and significant improvement. For example, at an aggregate, national level, the mapping suggests that across the country the ratio of people who feel comfortable to speak up is still less than 50%. There are also disparities in the quality service provision between one State/Region to another.
The findings from the local governance mapping portrait the status quo and also provide broad insights on the achievements since the start of reforms. Findings inspire to provide evidence and inputs on next priorities of the ongoing sub national governance reforms in Myanmar.
UNDP Communications Specialist