November 5, 2020. Ms. Myat The Thitsar, Mr. Ivo Balinov & Mr. Thomas (Tom) Cormier.

Decentralization as mandated by the 2008 Constitution re-introduced state/region governments and legislatures across Myanmar. This represents a central issue for the country’s long term development. The 14 sub-national legislatures have the responsibility to debate and pass local legislation and also have the formal role to debate and approve local budgets and oversee their spending. The potential of the ongoing peace process leading to the negotiation of a federal model of governance means that the roles of sub-national institutions, including parliaments, would continue to increase substantially. Against this background, the bulk of international support remains focused at the union level in the new capital of Nay Pyi Taw. Less attention is paid to sub-national parliaments across the 14 states and regions in the country. The parliamentary elections scheduled for November 8, 2020 have the potential of making sub-national parliaments even more ethnically diverse and of increasing the number of women parliamentarians.

Both the Parliamentary Centre (Canada) and a local think tank, Enlightened Myanmar Research Foundation (EMReF) have chosen to focus to support diverse voices within Myanmar’s nascent sub-national parliaments. One salient example comes from their joint successful interventions at the Shan Hluttaw (2017-19) under the Knowledge for Democracy Myanmar (K4DM) Initiative. As the country heads to the polls this November, all legislatures will again change their composition. What can we expect to stay the same? what will change?

Also available as Myanmar video


Ms. Myat The Thitsar, doctoral candidate in political science at the University of Massachusetts and EMReF strategic advisor, will discuss the key findings from an updated EMReF report on Performance Analysis on Subnational Parliaments.


Mr. Ivo Balinov, Director, Partnerships and Program Development, and Mr. Thomas (Tom) Cormier, President and Chief Executive Officer, from Parliamentary Centre (Canada), will reflect on the lessons learned and new opportunities for Canada and the international community to support sub-national governance, including capacity for gender sensitive policy making in Myanmar.