Workshop explores whether technology can make Myanmar cities more livable


Doctor Zaw Myint Maung, Chief Minister of Mandalay Region, giving his opening speech.

Development affairs officials from 14 states and regions this week shared examples of innovative reforms at a forum in Mandalay that aim to make Myanmar’s cities more liveable.

The Asia Foundation, an international development non-profit organization, and Renaissance Institute, a Yangon-based policy think-tank, organized a 3-day workshop 24-26 July for Development Affairs Ministers, State and Regional Development Affairs Directors, and Executive Officers of Development Affairs Organizations (DAOs) from the 14 States and Regions in Myanmar.

The event served as a critical platform to bring together 7 DA Ministers, 12 State and Region DA Directors and 18 Executive Officers and provided them the space to share ideas and learn from one another. They discussed ways to raise municipal revenues and use technology to improve urban service delivery and better communicate with the public.

“Make your cities green and clean. Make it a liveable city,” urged Doctor Zaw Myint Maung, the Chief Minister of Mandalay Region in his opening speech.

The union Government is pushing for the introduction of e-government and DAOs are responding by increasingly turning to ICT solutions to facilitate their engagement with the public, improve their operational efficiency, and reduce costs. Doctor Ye Lwin, Mayor of Mandalay, presented his efforts to strive to be a clean, green and smart city by utilizing new technologies. During an excursion to the MCDC traffic control room, he presented a new initiative to improve traffic through a video surveillance management system that includes CCTV and GPS technology.

Similar initiatives were discussed by representatives from other states and regions. “Waste management is a national cause” contended U Aye Ko, Executive Officer of Taunggyi, as the Asia Foundation presented on how to improve the management of landfills to reduce the risk of fire and pollution. DAOs across Myanmar shared their experience of experimenting with innovative solutions such as GPS tracking for better garbage collection routes and schedules. However, they recognized that they are still in need of support from the States and Regions Governments and seek for better cooperation from the public to reduce the amount of waste.

The Asia Foundation and Renaissance Institute have been providing technical assistance to DAOs to improve their waste management, tax administration and communication with citizens through technology and capacity building. U Aye Ko explained to the participants how using the mobile application MyanKhon, developed by The Asia Foundation, has made the tax collection process more efficient, and yielded greater property tax revenues.

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