UN-Habitat has established its presence in Myanmar in the early 1990s and in 2004 the agency pioneered the “People’s Process” by establishing the first community-led projects in Dry Zone, Shan State, and the Delta. The agency also extended substantive assistance for the design of the Human Development Initiative (HDI) for UNDP and has partnered in implementation of HDI 1, HDI 2 and HDI 3. With those achievements, UN-Habitat presence in Myanmar has become stronger and from 2008 to 2019, UN-Habitat has successfully managed to implement 37 projects with a total investment value of US$73,557,094. During over 10 years of UN-Habitat’s contribution, over 6,000 houses were updated through shelter construction, more than 5,000 carpenters were trained DRR construction techniques, over 1,500,000 people from 2,000 villages were connected to water, sanitation, hygiene, and community infrastructure, over 2,000 people received awareness training on climate change, over 500 roads and bridges were built for nearly 1,000 villages and around 300,000 people including school children have received hygiene awareness and health training. Today, UN-Habitat continues to implement several normative and operational activities focusing on four thematic areas as follows:
1. Participatory Urban Planning, Management, and Governance
2. Improving Human Settlements and Rebuilding Communities
3. Land Administration and Management
4. Environment, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Climate Change
Currently, there are ongoing projects of UN-Habitat Myanmar which are in their initial phases. The first one is the project for “Urgent improvement of solid waste management in Yangon city”, funded by the Government of Japan. UN-Habitat proposed to implement (technology-transfer) the Fukuoka Method of solid waste management in Yangon city, in response to the urgent need to apply an environmentally sound technology to increase solid waste disposal and to mitigate fire risks at the existing Htein Bin dump site in Hlaing Thar Yar Township. The project has two components; (1) Stabilization of existing dump site to reduce the possible fire outbreaks and (2) Construction of Fukoka Landfill Method and the phase (1) is expected to start by the third week of April.
The second one is “Yangon Informal Settlement Resettlement Programme”, under the funding of Swedish Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), with the goal of mitigating resettlement risks and increased protection for households relocated/resettled from informal settlements located in hazardous locations in Yangon’s resettlement areas. Now UN-Habitat is providing technical leadership in the inception phase which includes carrying out a number of studies and assessments, scoping study on land suitability, costing and modeling and consultation with communities – all of which will inform the implementation phase of the resettlement programme.
The third ongoing project is “Rakhine Settlement Support Programme”, funded by the Government of Japan, with the objective to prepare a community-driven, owner-led rebuilding of settlements (houses and community infrastructure) by returning refugees in Northern Rakhine or by Internal Displaced People (IDPs) now restricted to living in IDP camps in Central Rakhine. RASSP shall build understanding and capacity with key Rakhine stakeholders for the community-driven, owner-led approach to rebuilding after the return.
The National Urban Policy Programme(NUP) is a global programme of UN-Habitat which is being implemented in 3 countries; Myanmar, Niger and Iran with the financial support of the Republic of Korea under the project “Pilot phase of the National Urban Policy Programme: Developing NUPs and Smart City Strategies in Three Selected Countries”. The objective is to serve as an instrument or commitment to promoting more transformative, productive, inclusive and resilient urban development for the long term and future decision making of urban development challenges. To address these challenges, the Government of Myanmar and UN-Habitat had agreed to collaborate on the development of a National Urban Policy under the funding of Norway back in 2014 and had initiated studies related to policy development which resulted in preparation of a rapid urban diagnostic report (RUDRMYA,2017) and a National Urban Policy Framework (NUP-F,2017). Now the government-led and owned NUP process is in the final stages of diagnostic and formulation of the National Urban Policy, superintendent by a National Urban Committee consisted of members from related key ministries. The National Urban Policy will also develop smart city strategies across three cities.
Myanmar Climate Change Alliance (MCCA) Programme has been designed to strengthen current institutional and human capacity as a pre-condition for implementing climate change efforts systematically and effectively to address climate change vulnerability and risks in Myanmar. MCCA (2013-2019) is funded by European Union under Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) initiative and jointly implemented by UN-Habitat and UN Environment in collaboration with Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MoNREC). Phase (1) of MCCA is closed and phase 2 is shaping up to start soon.
During phase (1) MCCA has supported Ministry of Natural Resource Conservation in developing the Myanmar Climate Change Policy and the Myanmar Climate Change Strategy and Master Plan 2018-2030 through several national, regional/ state and city level consultations, and thematic group discussions. These policy documents after undergoing comprehensive consultations are approved by the union cabinet and due to be formally adopted by the country. MCCA program has conducted a need assessment for capacity building on climate change and worked with policy makers, decision makers, and journalists to create awareness and build capacities. Among its other achievements, Vulnerability assessments (VA) of 2 townships (Labutta & Pakokku) located in the Delta Zone and the Dry Zone (respectively) were conducted in order to find the root causes of climate risk and prepared the local adaptation plans in consultation with local government stakeholders and affected communities. Some of the prioritized interventions were implemented in both townships. MCCA also started supported capacity building initiatives to other line ministries to mainstream climate change into their sectorial plan and budgeting process.
Under ECHO funded Myanmar Consortium for Community Resilience (MCCR) programme, UN-Habitat is currently implementing the project “Building Resilience: Actions for Strengthened Institutions, Communities & Systems in Myanmar”. UN-Habitat is supporting the Government of Myanmar to strengthen the capacity on the immediate emergency response after an earthquake linking with Sendai Framework priority 4. This will be achieved through ensuring the functionality of hospitals after an earthquake, developing tools, methodology, and framework or post-earthquake rapid damage assessment and promoting the use of space technology in emergency response, contingency planning, etc.