Myanmar’s Governance Reform Challenges
Following decades of military dictatorship, Myanmar is now confronting a range of reform challenges, particularly in public administration of government services. As the military distances itself from day-to-day involvement in local governance, the new government is working to make government agencies more accountable and deliver better social services, particularly at the subnational level. The most immediate hope for change is centered in basic public administration of Myanmar’s districts and townships, where the General Administration Department (GAD) has become the paramount agency. In addition, new development affairs organizations (DAOs), township-level government agencies that answer to state and regional governments rather than the Union government, represent a step towards further democratization. Still, local governance remains the most unreformed part of Myanmar’s governance structures and union ministries continue to dominate. Matthew Arnold, The Asia Foundation’s program director in Myanmar, discusses the country’s evolving governance environment and the roles of security-related actors in the emerging state structure, including new studies on Militias in Myanmar and Municipal Governance.
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