Myanmar is going through rapid transformation through political, economic and administrative waves of reform. As the economy of Myanmar opens up, the pace of urbanization is bound to increase. Migration to the cities will continue to increase and cause strain to basic urban services. Urban planning and management is a key challenge that will need attention in the time ahead.
UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos completed a three day mission to Myanmar from 14-16 October 2013. He was accompanied by Regional Director for Asia and Pacific, Yoshinobu Fukasawa during the mission.
Dr. Clos met with Vice President H.E. Dr. Sai Mauk Kham, the Minister of Construction U Kyaw Lwin and Deputy Ministers of Environmental Conservation; Forestry and Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement; Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development and Agriculture and Irrigation and other senior government officials.
In the meetings with the Government, Dr. Clos confirmed the status of UN-Habitat as a long standing, strong and loyal partner of the Government of Myanmar and UN-Habitat’s commitment to work to improve the lives of the people of Myanmar.
Dr. Clos discussed the importance of putting in place good urban development practices to contribute to national economic development. He also sought the views of the government on their priorities and areas where UN-Habitat can be of assistance.
In his discussions with government officials Dr. Clos emphasized the importance of developing a National Urban Policy to guide the national urbanization process. . He stressed that it is important to plan properly for urbanization in order to achieve development outcomes and avoid the negative consequences of unplanned growth. Dr Clos said that UN-Habitat is also advocating to Planned City Extensions as a pragmatic and well-tested methodology to provide for planned growth of cities. He offered to support the Government of Myanmar in these two areas.
UN-Habitat is currently providing technical assistance and training support to the Government of Myanmar both at national level and in Yangon city in the areas of Urban Planning and Management. The Urban Research and Development Institute under the Department of Human Settlements and Housing Development is uniquely placed to provide the necessary technical expertise so that the Government can achieve its reform agenda in the urban sector.
Underling the need for Disaster Risk Reduction, Dr. Clos also restated that Disaster impede decades of economic development as the nation will need to recover from the damage. There are now well proven ways in which risk can be reduced and the impacts of climate change mitigated.
The Executive Director reassured that the existing partnerships with the various Ministries of the Government will be further strengthened and the role of UN-Habitat in providing support and technical assistance in the areas of our engagements will be continued and further enhanced in the years to come.