The Government of Myanmar and the Ethnic Armed Organizations are key parties to a formal Peace Process. They have been negotiating ‘basic federal as well as democratic’ principles for the country. In October 2015, all parties agreed that these principles would constitute the Union Accord, the basis to amend all laws–including the 2008 Constitution. Under the current government (2015-2020), no major constitutional change has taken place. The Peace Process remains the most plausible path to amend the constitution, end the armed conflict and lead to a multi-ethnic, federal and democratic Myanmar.
Myanmar’s challenges regularly make headlines. The efforts to reform the Myanmar Police Force remains a hopeful step forward in the transformation of the country’s security. The 2008 Constitution states that the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services is the chief of all the armed organizations, and, as a result, the Myanmar Police Force remains under the Home Affairs Ministry, led by a military-appointed minister. Along with the democratic reforms since 2011, the force has moved towards a more decentralized, more gender and ethnic sensitive institution, still struggling to focus on control vs service-orientation. Currently, the police in Myanmar are severely overstretched to meet their mandate. Laws, regulation, strategies and training are outdated; facilities and equipment are old and often in poor condition by Southeast Asian and global standards. More disturbingly, the police are not present in some parts of the country where crime and related public security issues are most challenging. The police are facing increasingly sophisticated ethnic armed groups as well as transnational organized crime involved in drugs and human trafficking. The recent MIPS 2020 Annual Review on Peace and Security has highlighted some of these severe security challenges.
Compared to many countries, the virus has been slow to gain a proper foothold in Myanmar. As of mid-May 2020, the Ministry of Health and Sport website reported 181 cases of COVID-19 and 6 deaths nationwide. Although Myanmar has not officially detected a high number of active cases, the virus has already wreaked havoc on the economy and society as a whole. International financial institutions expect a slight decline in the GDP growth rate, but this can change dramatically if COVID-19 becomes widespread, causing severe disruptions and panic reactions. Should policy makers anticipate the worst-case scenario and prepare timely responses? Are the current responses hitting the mark?
In 2020, the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap continues to find the largest gender disparity is—once again—the Political Empowerment gap. While countries across the board are making efforts to reduce the gap, Myanmar is behind all countries in ASEAN. Despite having successful and highly visible women across all sectors of the economy from the garment industry to education. Few Myanmar women are present in politics.
Myanmar is home to several minority ethnic groups seeking political, economic, cultural, and social recognition. In these pursuits, conflict has erupted and sustained for decades–as one of the world’s longest–manifesting in a variety of forms. Within these conflicts, the gendered impacts are multi-faceted and disproportionately tolling upon women and girls. As Myanmar heads to the polls again this year, violence could again re-emerge, keeping in mind that “Gender inequities exacerbate experiences of conflict, and responses that do not incorporate gender analysis exacerbate inequities”.
Linking science with policy is difficult in countries with top universities and well-funded research programs, but what about in developing countries?
In this Asia Research News Podcast, we delve into Doing Research in Myanmar: a systematic study of how social science research is produced, distributed and used in the country. We hear from the Global Development Network, the international organization leading this effort, and the Centre for Economic and Social Development, a think tank in Myanmar, which together have just released their report findings.
Listen in to learn about some of the highlights from the report, and hear those involved speak about it directly. We cover some of the key challenges and recommendations for social science in Myanmar and ensuring it informs policy in the evolving democracy.
Check out these related articles about GDN and IDRC’s work in the Asia Research News magazine:
Finding levers of change Highlights findings from Doing Research assessments in Myanmar, Bolivia, Indonesia and Nigeria.
Sparking change through research Social scientists in Myanmar seeking to understand the factors that influence women’s participation in politics and the economy are finding that, before they can study, first they must inform.
June 17, 2020. Dr. Alex Pelletier & Dr. Jacques Bertrand.
Myanmar’s 2008 Constitution established a more decentralized structure, with partially elected sub-national governments with new financial and administrative functions. Since the 2011 transition and the 2015 civilian-led rule, the Myanmar government continues the working with the 2008 Constitution–rather than replacing it—while pledging to decentralize key areas of policy to local and state governments. As the 2020 election looms now in the horizon, it is time to take stock of how decentralization has advanced in the country.
A team of young researchers, publishing anonymously, carried out a series of focus group discussions and key informant interviews in Aug-Oct 2021, to understand youth conceptions of ‘freedom of expression’ in the online world, and how this was being … Read more
Linking science with policy is difficult in countries with top universities and well-funded research programs, but what about in developing countries? In this Asia Research News Podcast, we delve into Doing Research in Myanmar: a systematic study of how … Read more
Migrant workers are heroes of Myanmar’s economy, but are facing extreme challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Myanmar’s Centre for Economic and Social Development recommends policies to address the crisis. Video created in English and Myanmar to promote a CESD … Read more
Nyi Nyi Kyaw is IDRC’s Research Chair on Forced Displacement at The Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD) at Chiang Mai University in Thailand. Here he talks about his background and his work on forced displacement. … Read more
Professor Banerjee is IDRC’s Research Chair on Forced Displacement at the Asian Institute of Technology’s Gender and Development Studies (GDS) Program in the School of Environment, Resource, and Development. Here she talks about her background and the research. With … Read more
October 27, 2020. It is now 25 years since the UN World Conference on Women was held in Beijing (1995). This meeting of global leaders spurred an unprecedented push for gender equality in a number of areas. Specifically, the … Read more
Nyi Nyi Kyaw is IDRC’s Research Chair on Forced Displacement at The Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD) at Chiang Mai University in Thailand. Here he talks about his background and his work on forced displacement. Nyi Nyi Kyaw will focus on two projects as the IDRC Research Chair. The first investigates…
Professor Banerjee is IDRC’s Research Chair on Forced Displacement at the Asian Institute of Technology’s Gender and Development Studies (GDS) Program in the School of Environment, Resource, and Development. Here she talks about her background and the research. With her extensive research and publications on gender and forced displacement, Paula Banerjee aims to collaborate with…
IDRC’s Knowledge for Democracy Myanmar (K4DM) initiative launched its second phase in Bangkok with a Knowledge Marketplace that brought together partners and stakeholders concerned about research and higher education in Myanmar. This story is featured in the Asia Research News 2023 magazine. If you would like to receive regular research news, In November 2022, the IDRC’s…
A team of young researchers, publishing anonymously, carried out a series of focus group discussions and key informant interviews in Aug-Oct 2021, to understand youth conceptions of ‘freedom of expression’ in the online world, and how this was being affected by the country’s chaotic political environment. In addition to the narrative report, three small creative…
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