Myanmar Governance Discussion Paper Series


Gender Budgeting

September 24, 2019


Gender budgeting (also known as Gender Responsive Budgeting) has been described as “…an approach to budgeting that uses fiscal policy and administration to promote gender equality, and girls’ and women’s development.” More specifically, gender budgeting initiatives typically aim to: use gender-sensitive analysis to understand female and male citize… Read more


Where Top-Down Meets Bottom-Up: Planning and Budgeting in Myanmar

July 18, 2019


This study is a companion to the State and Region Governments in Myanmar report, looking in greater detail at how planning and budgeting in Myanmar occurs in practice, including differences among state/regions and sectors. The research draws from new fieldwork carried out in three states over three months in early 2019, which seeks to understand ho… Read more


The Myanmar Business Environment Index 2019

April 30, 2019


Measuring Economic Governance for Private Sector Development The Economic Governance Index (EGI) is a tool that has become widely accepted by governments to understand economic growth, attract investors, and engage in public-private sector dialogue. The Myanmar Business Environment Index (MBEI) follows in this tradition by adapting the EGI model to… Read more


Decentralizing Power: The Role of State and Region Governments in Myanmar’s Energy Sector

April 5, 2019


This report is a companion report to State and Region Governments in Myanmar, covering the subnational aspects of Myanmar’s energy sector. The Asia Foundation has been providing support and technical assistance to seven states and regions, and has been conducting training with all 14 of the states and regions, with the aim of building technical cap… Read more


City Life Survey 2018

February 21, 2019


The City Life Survey (CLS) is the first of its kind in Myanmar. It is a multi-year, multi-city public perception survey to support policy-makers improve the well-being of urban residents. The 2018 CLS asked 2,400 respondents of Yangon, Mandalay, Taunggyi, Mawlamyine and Monywa 135 questions on their personal, economic, physical, interpersonal well-… Read more


Myanmar Democracy: Small Steps on a Long Journey

November 7, 2018

Blog Post

For decades, Myanmar was governed by a small military elite, accused of acting solely in their own interests. The introduction of a new constitution in 2008 was a dramatic and significant development, creating 14 new state and region governments and parliaments and the promise of democratic participation by a more diverse range of actors. At its he… Read more


State and Region Governments in Myanmar

October 30, 2018


In September 2013, The Asia Foundation published its first report on Myanmar, State and Region Governments in Myanmar. The report provoked a great deal of interest in subnational governance from government, civil society, donors, and development partners. Since then, 38 reports from the Foundation have looked in greater detail at issues of subnatio… Read more


Gender Mainstreaming in Subnational Governance: Myanmar’s Fisheries and Livestock Sectors

August 15, 2018


In Myanmar, there is a general attitude that issues affecting women fall exclusively under the purview of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement. This policy paper explores how gender mainstreaming in subnational governance can take place outside of what is typically considered women-centric policy domains in Myanmar, using the fi… Read more


Urban Safety Brief Series

July 10, 2018


The Urban Safety Brief Series aims to provide Myanmar policymakers at national and local levels, and other interested stakeholders, with analysis and examples of policies and practices, which potentially could be applied or adapted to enhance people’s safety in urban areas in Myanmar. The Asia Foundation has a wider policy research agenda looking a… Read more


City Life Survey

June 12, 2018


Given the lack of reliable data in Myanmar as well as government’s lack of experience with city planning, complex urbanization issues are becoming significant challenges to policymakers. This pilot City Life Survey is the beginning of a project that is intended to shine light on what Myanmar’s cities are like as places to work and live. It is the f… Read more


Managing Change: Executive Policymaking in Myanmar

May 11, 2018


Since 2011, Myanmar has undergone a daunting transition from entrenched military rule to a more democratic form of governance that can address longstanding political, economic and social fissures. As the transition continues, what has become increasingly clear is that one of the biggest challenges for the government is how to solve technical proble… Read more


Attitudes Towards Taxation in Myanmar: Insights from Urban Citizens

March 9, 2018


In 2017 The Asia Foundation and the Yangon School of Political Science conducted the City Life Survey, the first large scale survey in Myanmar to track public perceptions and lived experiences of urban life. More specifically, the survey provides the Foundation with data to systematically assess the tax attitudes of urban citizens in Myanmar and to… Read more


Budget Monitoring and Oversight System in Myanmar

March 9, 2018


This paper discusses how budget monitoring and oversight are currently practiced in Myanmar. We hope the insights provided in this report would be useful to inform government, civil society organizations, and development partners will help inform the ongoing public discourse and interventions aimed at improving public financial management in Myanma… Read more


Supporting the Transition: Understanding Aid to Myanmar Since 2011

March 6, 2018


This report describes the characteristics and constraints of aid in Myanmar. It provides a historical grounding on international development cooperation, an overview of current trends in aid provision, and analysis of particularly challenging policy areas. The report draws on interviews conducted between June 2016 and June 2017 and survey data whic… Read more


Public Financial Management Glossary & Terms

February 28, 2018


A glossary for practitioners.

Promoting Women’s Empowerment in Myanmar handout cover image 

Promoting Women’s Empowerment in Myanmar

January 25, 2018


Women have a critical role to play in the development of Myanmar, but they face a broad range of challenges including low skills, limited employment opportunities, and inadequate representation and participation in governance. In response, The Asia Foundation is committed to gender equality in its program in Myanmar and works with the government, c… Read more


Women’s Political Participation in Myanmar: Experiences of Women Parliamentarians 2011-2016

June 22, 2017


Sixty years of military rule in Myanmar has seen the critical role of women’s political participation marginalized. From an extremely low base, the 2010 general elections increased the opportunity for women’s participation in governance. The 2015 general elections presented another opportunity for a more inclusive representational government, and M… Read more


Parliamentary Development in Myanmar: An Overview of the Union Parliament, 2011-2016

June 22, 2017


This report reviews the organizational structure and functioning and legislative performance of the Union Parliament since 2011, and compares the two legislatures elected in 2010 (Union Solidarity and Development Party) and 2015 (National League for Democracy). Currently, the legislature’s ability to direct policymaking is weak, and its understandi… Read more


The Provision of Public Goods and Services in Urban Areas in Myanmar

February 15, 2017


With over a third of the Myanmar’s population living in urban areas, the governance of towns and cities is of increasing importance. With rising rates of urbanization and population growth, urban services are a critical interface between citizens and government. Outside of Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, urban agencies called Development Affairs… Read more

State and Region Financing, Budgeting and Planning in Myanmar cover image 

State and Region Financing, Planning and Budgeting in Myanmar

February 8, 2017


Effective subnational public financial management is essential if state and region governments are to achieve their potential in addressing local and national policy development priorities, including the delivery of public services in their areas of jurisdiction. This report provides a foundation for a better understanding of the current subnationa… Read more


Strengthening Government Policymaking in Myanmar

May 13, 2016


This note asks how Myanmar’s democratically elected government can improve policymaking processes. It summarizes internationally recognized properties of good policies before considering how policymaking happens in Myanmar and proposing measures to adopt in the future. Burmese version


Strengthening Policy Institutes in Myanmar

May 13, 2016


This note considers how policy institutes can systematically and effectively support policy processes in Myanmar. Opportunities for improved policymaking have grown following reforms and the gradual introduction of democracy. The November 2015 elections in which the National League for Democracy (NLD) won by a landslide created further potential to… Read more


Gender (in)Equality in the Governance of Myanmar: Past, Present, and Potential Strategies for Change

May 6, 2016


Given the enormous potential for real change in Myanmar and because women still face many challenges in their ability to participate in the decision making process, it is important that the inclusivity and equality of governance is not sidelined but remains central in the public discourse. In this context, The Asia Foundation (the Foundation) is pl… Read more


Local Economic Governance in Myanmar

February 22, 2016


Local economic governance is a critical dimension in Myanmar’s drive to reform, decentralize and achieve more inclusive and stable development. How businesses and individuals engage with the government in their income and revenue generation efforts and creating employment in the local communities in the process is pertinent to larger economic refor… Read more


Local Development Funds in Myanmar

October 27, 2015


Since 2011, Myanmar has embarked on a series of development reforms to promote a more “people centered” and “bottom-up” approach to government planning and budgeting. Inter alia, these reforms have led to the establishment of Local Development Funds (LDFs) to identify and fund community development projects. LDFs in Myanmar, and the government inst… Read more


State and Region Public Finances in Myanmar

October 13, 2015


This paper focuses on understanding the role of state and region governments in relation to Myanmar’s public finances. This has been done to take stock of existing research, better understand the composition of subnational finances, and attempt to address whether, at this point in the fiscal decentralization process, state and region governments ha… Read more


Municipal Governance in Myanmar

September 25, 2015


This report provides an overview of how Development Affairs Organizations manage municipal governance in Myanmar and concludes with considerations for further policy development. The municipal governance of Yangon City and Mandalay City is not covered in this report because unique provisions for the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) and the… Read more


Conceptualizing Public Sector Reform in Myanmar

August 7, 2015


The purpose of this paper is to set out some of the issues involved in thinking about public sector reform in Myanmar and assist in establishing a common platform for dialogue on this important topic. The paper seeks to explain how reform of the public sector is an essential part of the transition from a form of authoritarianism to democracy, and t… Read more


State and Region Governments in Myanmar

March 31, 2015


Subnational governance institutions and central-local relations are critical to the future of Myanmar, and they are undergoing significant change. This report aims to inform policy-makers, political actors, donors, and other stakeholders about the new state and region structures created under the 2008 Constitution, and their relationship with broad… Read more


Myanmar 2014: Civic Knowledge and Values in a Changing Society

December 11, 2014


A survey to document public knowledge and awareness of new government institutions and processes, and to gauge the political, social, and economic values held by people from diverse backgrounds, to inform the country’s long-term development. The survey included face-to-face interviews with more than 3,000 respondents across all 14 Myanmar states an… Read more


Administering the State in Myanmar

October 23, 2014


Basic administration in Myanmar is provided by the General Administration Department (GAD) of the Ministry of Home Affairs. GAD administrators manage subnational administrative structures stretching from states and regions down to districts, townships and all of the country’s approximately 16,700 wards and village tracts. Although the GAD is except… Read more


Public Financial Management in Myanmar

October 7, 2014


Observations from training needs assessment and pilot trainings conducted by The Asia Foundation, VNG International, and Myanmar Development Resource Institute’s Centre for Economic and Social Development (MDRI-CESD). This program brief describes the training needs assessment, training program design and implementation, highlights key capacity need… Read more


Catalyzing Subnational Development in Myanmar

September 16, 2014


Balancing Local Preferences with National and Sector Policy Since assuming power in April 2011, the Thein Sein government has begun to implement a wide range of reform initiatives. Central to these are decentralization and local governance, issues of critical importance to the country’s long-term development. In light of this situation, The Asia Fo… Read more


Fiscal Decentralization in Myanmar: Towards a Roadmap for Reform

July 1, 2014


The Myanmar Development Resource Institute’s Centre for Economic and Social Development (MDRI‐CESD) and The Asia Foundation are pleased to present this fifth volume in the Subnational Governance in Myanmar Discussion Paper Series. Fiscal decentralization forms the backbone of Myanmar’s efforts to strengthen public services, encourage development ac… Read more


Natural Resources and Subnational Governments in Myanmar: Key considerations for wealth sharing

June 15, 2014


The Myanmar Development Resource Institute’s Centre for Economic and Social Development (MDRI-CESD) and The Asia Foundation are pleased to present this fourth volume in the Subnational Governance in Myanmar Discussion Paper Series. Myanmar’s government has announced a commitment to both greater transparency in natural resource sectors and to furthe… Read more


Women’s Participation in the Subnational Governance of Myanmar

June 13, 2014


The Myanmar Development Resource Institute’s Centre for Economic and Social Development (MDRI-CESD) and The Asia Foundation are pleased to present this third volume in the Subnational Governance in Myanmar Discussion Paper Series. This paper outlines women’s participation in the various forms of subnational governance in Myanmar, discuss why women’… Read more


Subnational Governments and Business in Myanmar

February 25, 2014


The Myanmar Development Resource Institute’s Centre for Economic and Social Development (MDRI-CESD) and The Asia Foundation are pleased to present this second volume in the Subnational Governance in Myanmar Discussion Paper Series. Report (Burmese version)


A Preliminary Assessment of Decentralization in Education: Experiences in Mon State and Yangon Region

February 19, 2014


The Myanmar Development Resource Institute’s Centre for Economic and Social Development (MDRI-CESD) and The Asia Foundation are pleased to present the first volume in the Subnational Governance in Myanmar Discussion Paper Series. This discussion paper examines decentralization within the formal education system in Myanmar in Yangon Region and Mon S… Read more


Myanmar Library Survey

February 3, 2014


A comprehensive study of the country’s public libraries and information needs. The Asia Foundation and the Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation are pleased to present the first-ever national survey of Myanmar’s public libraries. Executive Summary Executive Summary (Burmese)