CESD Executive Director, U Zaw Oo, recently lead training sessions for senior civil servants on a range of good governance, public accountability and public administration topics. Fifty senior civil servants completed the six-week training period in Nay Pyi Taw, aimed at building the capacity of the bureaucracy to develop and implement public policy.
Recent research by CESD has highlighted the need for such capacity building for the Myanmar bureaucracy. The CESD and Asia Foundation Discussion Paper, “Administering the State in Myanmar – an overview of the General Administration Department” (October 2014) noted that “one of the gravest outcomes of Ne Win’s administrative reforms was the deterioration of the bureaucracy’s capacity to design public policy and actually implement it at the local level.”
The Discussion Paper “Fiscal Decentralisation” (in the same CESD and Asia Foundation series of discussion papers) (June 2014) noted that Myanmar’s public service is characterized by centralization and limited administrative and managerial autonomy. The Discussion Paper states, “Myanmar’s political culture echoes that of some neighbours, with wide acceptance of political and bureaucratic elites, patronage, limited experience of accountability, and vertically managed approaches to managing territory through governors or officers.” According to the Discussion Paper, this political culture results in more “topdown” decision making, rather than more locally‐owned and driven processes.
The six Discussion Papers in the CESD and Asia Foundation Subnational Governance in Myanmar Discussion Paper Series are available from the Publications tab (above).
Read more about the senior civil service training period, which concluded in March 2015, in The Myanmar Times, “New permanent secretaries to lead civil service reform push”, 12 March 2015.