Nay Pyi Taw, 14 December 2018 – UN-Habitat Country Programme Manager in Myanmar has stressed that “urbanization is unstoppable and irreversible.” Addressing a national consultation workshop convened in Nay Pyi Taw on the theme Towards a National Urban Policy for Myanmar, Mr. Bijay Karmacharya pointed out that “Myanmar is at a critical time for forward thinking to prepare its urbanization process through a national level policy which should become a guiding instrument to manage its urbanization.”

In his opening remarks, Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Construction U Kyaw Linn noted that “Myanmar’s National Urban Policy Framework outlines five vital thematic areas that are crucial for inclusive and sustainable development of Myanmar. “These thematic areas for discussion at the workshop are not just priority areas for the National Urban Policy but most vitally, harmonizes with our country’s national priorities such as the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP),” he stressed.

Participants discussed the role of the private sector in development of NUP and its contribution to smart cities strategies and the contribution of research institutions and universities to the implementation of NUP. Other topics discussed included support and technical guidance to be provided by UN-Habitat for implementation of NUP in Myanmar, the partnership between national and local authorities, planning professionals, civil society organizations and other stakeholders and donor support for Myanmar in implementation of NUP. The five priority thematic areas covered are municipal governance and finance, urban and regional legislation, land governance, housing, and environmental and climate change issues related to urban development.

An Urban Specialist from UN-Habitat HQ Dr. Ulrich Graute, delivered a presentation on achievements of the NUP preparations to date, next steps, and the programme of work for 2019. DUHD Deputy Director General Daw Mie Mie Tin, focused on National Housing Policy, while DUHD Deputy Director General Daw Aye Aye Myint spoke on urban Issues in Myanmar and policy priorities.

National Urban Policy Development in Myanmar was initiated in December 2014 with preparation of the National Urban Policy Note outlining broad themes and topics to be addressed by a National Urban Policy. With technical assistance from UN-Habitat the Ministry of Construction produced the Rapid Urban Diagnostic Report, Myanmar (RUDRMYA) which was finalized in February 2016 in consultation with senior advisors and officials at the Department of Urban and Housing Development (DUHD).

Following adoption of the New Urban Agenda at Habitat III in Quito in October 2016, developing a National Urban Policy became a priority in Myanmar with the Ministry taking the process of policy development based on the findings of RUDRMYA forward. A National Urban Policy Framework (NUP-F), the third main step towards development of the National Urban Policy was completed in early 2017. The NUP-Framework outlines consultative policy dialogues and discussions to be undertaken vertically with sub-national entities (State and Region Governments) and horizontally with the relevant line Ministries as well as stakeholders in civil society and development partners in the urban sector.

The National Urban Policy Framework (NUP-F) had been discussed vertically at an earlier NUP workshop in June 2018 and was now validated horizontally to close the Feasibility Stage of the NUP.

The workshop was attended by parliamentarians, senior officials of the Nay Pyi Taw council and all fourteen States and Regions, the Director General of the Department of Urban and Housing

Department(DUHD), senior DUHD officials, UHD advisors, development partners, diplomats, and members of professional associations.