Nay Pyi Taw, 18 December 2019 – UN-Habitat in partnership with the Department of Urban Housing and Development (DUHD) of the Ministry of Construction (MoC) of Myanmar hosted “The National Urban Policy Forum of Myanmar - Final Consultation”.
The Forum was successfully held on at the Myanmar International Convention Center II (MICC-II) in Nay Pyi Taw. This forum was organized with the objectives to showcase the National Urban Policy (NUP) process and progress in Myanmar, and to gather comments and suggestions on the policy priority areas to be inputted in the final NUP for Myanmar.
The forum was graced by the presence of U Han Zaw, the Union Minister of the MoC; ; Senior Ministers of the Union Cabinet, His Excellency Mr. Sang-Hwa Lee, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea; Mr. Atsushi Koresawa, the Director of UN-Habitat Regional Office for Asia and Pacific (ROAP); parliamentarians; representatives from all the fourteen States and Regions; Members of the National Urban Committee; senior DUHD officials; DUHD advisors; development partners; representatives from embassies; professional associations and Urban Policy Experts from UN-Habitat Headquarters. A total of 500 participants attended the forum.
Mr. Han Zaw delivered opening remarks that “NUP is a comprehensive policy which integrates Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) and SDGs”. He pointed out Smart City Strategy (SCS) as an important tool to be considered for incorporation in the NUP. He highlighted Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Mandalay currently implementing the industrial complexes and smart district projects in cooperation with foreign and local private sectors. The Union Minister expressed his gratitude to the Republic of Korea and UN-Habitat for their support. The Minister encouraged all the stakeholders to actively participate in the formulation of NUP which will guide the sustainable urban future of Myanmar.
Mr. Sang-Hwa Lee, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, expressed his warm congratulations and recognized the collaboration and partnership between Korea, Myanmar and UN-Habitat by delivering welcome remarks. He further said that smart urban planning has a critical role to deal with not only current urban issues rising along with urbanization but also climate change. Hence, the Government of the Republic of Korea has also been actively sharing the experience and policies with ASEAN countries with regard to urban development in order to help design smart cities. He emphasized the importance of nurturing multi-stakeholder partnership in smart urban planning and development.
Mr. Atsushi Koresawa, the Director of UN-Habitat ROAP, conveyed deep gratitude to the Government of the Republic Union of Myanmar, the Government of the Republic of Korea and development partners who have been supporting UN-Habitat. The regional director mentioned the NUP as a comprehensive policy which covers a wide range of policy priority areas to address the urban issues. Moreover, he briefly mentioned, UN-Habitat’s New Strategic Plan 2020-2023 of which the focus areas are 1) spatial inequalities, 2) shared prosperity, 3) climate action and urban environment, and 4) urban crisis prevention and response. He outlined that the New Strategic Plan and Programmes will be supporting the implementation of the NUP in Myanmar. “Mr. Koresawa invited the participants to join the 10th World Urban Forum, “Cities for Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation”, which will be held in Abu Dhabi in 2020.”
Mr. Bijay Karmacharya, Country Programme Manager (CPM) of UN-Habitat in Myanmar in his presentation said that “urbanization is a global phenomenon and that unplanned cities can result in inefficiency, displacement, poverty, slums and infrastructure shortfall for generations”. He highlighted that Myanmar is standing at a critical point where the urbanization process should be guided and managed so that Myanmar’s cities remain livable, inclusive, resilient and sustainable. The CPM emphasized Myanmar’s National Urban Policy (NUP) as a nationally led, homegrown policy supported by international expertise and that NUP will be the core guide to the national level spatial development plan and for good urban planning and management at the city, town and local levels.
Daw Aye Aye Myint, the Deputy Director General (DDG) from DUHD delivered a presentation on the brief background of four policy priority areas which are municipal governance and finance, urban legislation, land governance and housing. The DDG expressed that NUP will support the long-term implementation of sustainable and resilient urban development in Myanmar.
U Ye Myat Thu, the smart city officer from Mandalay City Development Committee, spoke on how Mandalay city had successfully implemented smart approaches in land information management system, resource management, solid waste management system, fleet management and vehicle information system coordinated adaptive traffic system, traffic control system, traffic flow collecting system, online business registration system and road facilities.
In the afternoon session, the Kalaw City pilot as a model NUP action plan was presented by Daw Pyone Kay Thi Naing, a member of Parliament from Kalaw Constituency. She highlighted the processes of the Kalaw City pilot project as based on the Symbiocity approach.
The presentations were followed by three break-out parallel sessions which dealt with the NUP priority areas and Smart City Strategy respectively. During these parallel sessions, panel discussions were facilitated by the respective UN-Habitat experts and the participants actively discussed the policy priorities and smart city strategies.
The key discussion points from the consultation will be seriously considered in formulating of the National Urban Policy final draft which will be presented at the World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi in 2020.