IDRC HQ, Ottawa – 7 June 2017: A prominent figure in Myanmar’s Panglong Peace Process and part of a multi-stakeholder delegation to Canada to study Canadian Federalism, Dr. Lian H. Sakhong kicked off IDRC’s Myanmar Speaker series during his visit to IDRC Headquarters in Ottawa.
“After our country was under military rule for so long, people are hungry for information, there is no in-depth research engaging in our country.”
Dr. Sakhong discussed the Panglong Peace Process’ second round of negotiations that began on 24 May 2017. The multi-stakeholder delegation from Myanmar met with Canadian experts to learn more on Canada’s Federal system as part of a project, Support to Decentralized Governance in Burma, also funded by Government of Canada.
During his visit to IDRC, Dr. Sakhong said: “If we are able to provide a good research policy paper and able to inform our people about the real problems, and how to solve them, this is what good research is all about. The problem has to be identified first […] without serious research, this cannot be done.”
A second Myanmar Speaker Series took place with Professor Kai Ostwald at IDRC in Ottawa in June, to discuss Myanmar’s decentralization and the lessons learned from other ASEAN countries. A Professor at the Institute of Asian Research and Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Ostwald said: “Many countries in Southeast Asia have looked towards decentralization over the last two decades to address governance and development issues. This is because decentralization, in theory, should promote better policies by bringing administrative, fiscal, and political decisions closer to the populations that are directly affected by them. Looking across the region, however, the result of these decentralization experiments have been very mixed and often quite disappointing. Given that Myanmar has begun to explore various forms of decentralizing, it is in a good position to incorporate the lessons learned from its regional neighbours.”
*The Myanmar Speaker Series was launched by IDRC, inviting experts from across the world to discuss issues relevant to Myanmar’s democratic transition.