Tag Archives: Burma

“The New Myanmar”: Full Transcript

6 Jan


On December 12, 2016, PISA hosted Myanmar Ambassador Aung Lynn at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs as part of our PISA-ASEAN Southeast Asia Roundtable Series and the Elliott School’s Ambassador Forum Series. He gave an address entitled “The New Myanmar,” followed by a question and answer session with GW students, faculty, and non-GW affiliates from the media, civil society, and more.

You can read a full transcript of his remarks and the following Q&A below the cut, or download it here.

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Legacies of the Cold War in Asia: Myanmar

15 Dec

Chinese Troops in Burma

By PISA Staff Assistant, Leeann Ji

Following Myanmar Ambassador Aung Lynn’s visit to the Elliott School of International Affairs on Monday, December 12, PISA provides critical background information on the country through our blog. Previously, we discussed the country’s challenges in natural resource governance. Stay tuned for one more post on Myanmar as part of our ongoing series, Climate Change and Sea Level Rise in Asia.

A country composed of 14 administrative states and more than 135 different ethnic groups, Myanmar currently lags behind its Southeast Asian counterparts in many different aspects of development (according to 2014 data gathered by the United Nations Development Program). After decades of political turmoil, Myanmar saw a push towards democracy when the National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won the 2015 elections by a landslide. The election results proved to be a victory for Myanmar, but after the Cold War-era proliferation of communism, years of ideological battles, and an exploding opium and heroin trade, the new Burmese government faces many obstacles on the path to catching up to its ASEAN neighbors.

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“Using Indigenous Knowledge to Promote Local Leadership and Sustainable Resource Management in Myanmar”

24 Sep

As part of PisaSpeak’s  month-long guest blogger Series – “Tell us what you’re doing in the field” we heard from Priscilla Clapp, blue moon fund, about the need for integrated watershed management in Myanmar.  This week’s post comes from Rainer Eizenberger, Program Coordinator, Heinrich Böll Stiftung and focuses on a new program that taps community leaders in an effort to build support for indigenous knowledge in natural resource management.

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Integrated Water Resources Management in Myanmar

10 Sep

Special Guest Bloggers:

Sheridan Hyland, Program Associate, blue moon fund and Priscilla Clapp, Retired Minister Counselor, U.S. Foreign Service

Former Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy in Burma, for the blue moon fund


 Within the past few years, we have seen the Union of Myanmar, formerly Burma, open itself to the international community and begin a promising reform process.  These new changes provide both opportunities and challenges for Myanmar’s development, and one of the most important components for development is water.  A significant portion of Myanmar’s population still resides in rural areas, and as a result agriculture accounts for the dominant share of the country’s water usage.[1]  The energy sector, however, specifically the hydropower, has been steadily increasing its water usage as Myanmar seeks to expand economic productivity, raise incomes, and alleviate the acute poverty of the majority of the population.  With four key rivers as identified by the Government of Myanmar– the Ayeyarwady, Sittoung, Thanlwin, and Bago – as well as numerous important tributaries[2], Myanmar’s water resources are significant and offer potential solutions to many of the development challenges the country faces, if they are employed wisely and efficiently.

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Myanmar in Motion: A Climate-wise Development Approach

5 Sep


In February 2013 Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA) collaborated with Yangon based NGO, ALARM, to offer a week long pre-training program for 45 mid-level government officials from Burma’s line ministries with portfolios most likely to be impacted by climate change. The Myanmar Leadership Institute on Climate Change (MLICC) was designed to build capacity at the national level on mainstreaming climate change into development policies. The objective of the pre-training was to introduce the officials to what PISA terms, climate-wise development (CWD). CWD seeks the advancement of the community in tandem with responsible management of natural resources, investment in human capacity, and good governance. This methodology seeks to mitigate the tension inherent in development policies that seek rapid economic gain and the need for longer-term environmental and political stability.

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Making the Case for Climate Wise Development in Burma

15 Mar

Photo courtesy of Sandi Moynihan

This is the first training on climate change for our ministries in Myanmar”

                                                – MLICC Delegate, Ministry of Health

By Suzanne Kelly-Lyall

Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA), Yangon-based NGO ALARM, Heinrich Böll Stiftung (Bangkok/Yangon), and The Chino Cienega Foundation joined forces to offer a week-long Myanmar Climate Change Leadership Institute (MLICC).  Forty-five mid-level government officials recruited from Myanmar’s line ministries with direct responsibility for natural resource management, environmental conservation, agriculture and health, took part in a specialized program to introduce the concept of Climate Wise Development (CWD).

Photo Courtesy of Sandi Moynihan

The collaborative effort included a session on “green finance mechanisms” led by Heinrich Böll Stiftung’s North America Office Associate Director Liane Schalatek, professors drawn from The George Washington University, as well as experts from across the region.  Under PISA’s leadership, principles of CWD were introduced using active learning methods that included analytical, problem-solving exercises rooted in the real-world challenges that Myanmar faces today.  From assessing large-scale development projects such as the proposed Dawei port and how it might impact communities, to considering renewable energy sources and how to leverage natural resources for the common good, the MLICC challenged policy-makers to consider an alternative path to development. 


Photo courtesy of Sandi Moyniha

Photo courtesy Sandi MoynihanImage

PISA uses the urgent and shared issue of global climate change to illustrate the need for environmental governance and sustainable development. In so doing, we introduce the necessity of participatory decision- making and information sharing with sensitivity to existing political norms. During this easily reversible period of transition, together with ALARM and Heinrich Böll Stiftung, PISA successfully conducted a program that will build confidence over time and gradually bridge existing gaps between officials and civil society by unveiling points of mutual concern.  Working within the climate change “frame” enabled discussion of sensitive political and economic matters, from increasing transparency in natural resource management to the ways in which groups are understood to be vulnerable and marginalized.  The MLICC sought to build on the momentum toward adoption of a climate-wise development approach, namely one that is both more sustainable and equitable, which civil society organizations and reform-minded officials alike have sought to launch.  Many of the delegates possessed technical expertise in functional areas such as hydrology, forestry, or public health.  However, few have had the opportunity to share their knowledge across ministries. Consequently, at the beginning of the MLICC, analysis and problem-solving strategies often reflected narrow concerns.  By the end of week, teams had grown comfortable with working collaboratively across ministries, areas of expertise, gender, and seniority.  Teams often succeeded in developing detailed plans of action, showed a capacity for thought leadership and creative approaches to addressing the complex challenges and trade offs that development against a background of uncertainty presents.

The MLICC was strengthened by wedding the resources of three diverse organizations together; each making a distinctive contribution.  Next steps include additional in-country short courses that target important ministries for climate change policy, as well implementing the longer-term goal of providing scholarships to promising, emerging leaders to attend PISA’s Summer Leadership Institute on Climate Change, a three-week intensive program to be held on the campus of The George Washington University.

The Burma Beat….

25 Jul

Interview by: Andrew Parker, Program Associate, PISA

Edited by: Suzanne Kelly-Lyall, Deputy Director, PISA

Dr. Christina Fink (second from left) with PISA/ECODEV team

This week PisaSpeak brings you another snap shot of the political and economic reforms underway in Burma.  Dr. Christina Fink  (pictured second from right), Professor of Development and International Affairs, George Washington Univeristy, is the author of Living Silence Burma Surviving Military – as a colleague in Yangon recently commented; Dr. Fink is the “go to” source if you want to understand the complex political landscape in Burma.”

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