Tag Archives: Political Reform

Making the Case for Climate Wise Development in Burma

15 Mar
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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).
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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. 

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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.

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Burma Poised to Change Faster than Katy Perry’s Hair Color

1 Aug

By: Andrew Parker, Research Associate, PISA

Edited by:  Suzanne Kelly-Lyall

The Many Shades of Katy…

Black, red, blue, purple, …no this is not a refresher on the defunct DHSadvisorysystem, rather, just a fewcolors singer Katy Perry has been seen sporting this year–8 in total. That’s about a month and a half per color. Think that’s rapid change? Have a look at recent events in Burma. On the heels of 50 years of military rule, President Thein Sein, a former military man himself, came to power in 2011 and has been enacting a flurry of unprecedented economic and political reforms ever since.

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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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