Myanmar Speaker Series: How to support sub-national parliaments effectively? 2020 Elections

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.

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Myanmar Speaker Series: What is the road to improving health services in ethnic states?

October 21, 2020.

Myanmar is undergoing a transition from military to civilian rule since 2011 and government expenditure on health has increased from 1% in 2010 to 3.4% in 2015, still one of the lowest in the Asia-Pacific region. Though health sector decentralization is said to be put in place, the progress so far has not been assessed. There is limited information on how resources are managed and how well is decentralization progressing. The current system favors top-down decision-making, creating vast gaps of expectations between decision-makers and communities in states/regions, townships and villages/wards. In ethnic states, the delivery of health service remains unequal and insufficient due to poor governance, limited budgets, outdated facilities, and lack of supplies and health staff. Moreover, in such resource-poor setting, the gap between community expectations and what service providers can actually offer remains enormous, and needs to be closed.

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Myanmar Speaker Series: How to equip sub national parliaments for evidence based policy making ?

October 7, 2020.

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.

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Myanmar Speaker Series: Can Decentralization Improve Education in Myanmar ?

October 1, 2020

Following the start of the country’s various reforms in 2011, public funding for education has significantly increased, leading to an important rise in access. The primary net enrollment rate increased from 88% in 2009-10 to 93 percent in 2014-15. Net enrollment in pre-primary education saw an impressive growth between 2008 – when roughly 1 in 20 children were enrolled – and 2014 when nearly 1 in 4 children were enrolled. The National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) 2016-21 represents an important milestone for education in Myanmar, as the country’s very first education sector plan in the context of a major transition towards democracy.

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