Tanintharyi govern­ment fields community de­vel­op­ment con­cerns via pub­lic fo­rum

The Myanmar Times - - Business - SU PHYO WIN su­phy­owin@mm­times.com

TANINTHARYI Re­gion is hold­ing pub­lic fo­rums where community mem­bers can weigh in on how the re­gional govern­ment’s ef­forts to pro­mote de­vel­op­ment across a range of sec­tors, from gen­der equal­ity to elec­tric­ity, should pro­ceed.

Dawei town­ship held a fo­rum on Septem­ber 5 and 6 as part of the new re­gional govern­ment’s ef­forts to in­clude community con­cerns when draft­ing de­vel­op­ment poli­cies. The first fo­rum as part of the strat­egy was held in Kawthaung town­ship, and the third and fi­nal fo­rum will take place in Myeik.

Dawei’s fo­rum, which drew more than 1500 peo­ple, fo­cused on tourism; elec­tric­ity and in­dus­try; agri­cul­ture, live­stock and fish­eries; migrant work­ers; gen­der equal­ity; youth; and so­cioe­co­nomic sta­tus.

U Thant Zin, co­or­di­na­tor of the Dawei De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, said community’s in­put was sub­mit­ted to the re­gional govern­ment of­fice af­ter the fo­rum.

“The voices of the community can di­rectly reach the re­gional govern­ment,” he said. “The ad­vice and data pro­vided by the fo­rum will help [the govern­ment] draft eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies.”

If the re­gion draws up a wider de­vel­op­ment strat­egy, U Thant Zin is hop­ing the community can co­op­er­ate with de­vel­op­ment ex­perts to help in­flu­ence the pol­icy.

“Some of the is­sues can be solved within the fo­rum through dis­cus­sion,” he said. “Some have to be solved by the re­gional govern­ment and some may need to be sub­mit­ted to the cen­tral govern­ment level. So the fo­rum can’t solve all the is­sues at once, but at least when it is fin­ished the govern­ment can know what is re­ally hap­pen­ing on the ground.”

U Wai Phyo Aung, founder of Dawei Ac­tive Youth, said the pre­vi­ous govern­ment rarely in­vited civil so­ci­ety groups to dis­cuss spe­cific is­sues.

“Once you know what is hap­pen­ing on the ground, it is eas­ier to ap­proach the is­sues and find out the so­lu­tions,” he said. “But the fo­rum is just to al­low the govern­ment to lis­ten to community voices – draft­ing poli­cies based on that ad­vice will take time.”

Daw Lae Lae Maw, Tanintharyi chief min­is­ter (NLD; Thay­atchaung town­ship), said the re­gional govern­ment will fi­nalise con­clu­sions from six govern­ment com­mit­tees – rep­re­sent­ing var­i­ous govern­ment depart­ments like min­ing and agri­cul­ture – that col­lected views from the fo­rum. Th­ese con­clu­sions will help the govern­ment draft the poli­cies needed, she added.

“The fo­rum helps the community par­tic­i­pate in the re­gional govern­ment’s de­vel­op­ment process and it’s clear what needs to be done af­ter lis­ten­ing to the is­sues,” she said, adding that while the re­gional govern­ment would be able to solve some of the prob­lems or amend re­gional law, other is­sues may re­quire the cen­tral govern­ment to amend na­tional leg­is­la­tion.

Com­pa­nies in some ar­eas – par­tic­u­larly the min­ing sec­tor – are not fol­low­ing ex­ist­ing re­gional poli­cies, she said. The re­gional govern­ment in­tends to draft new poli­cies to en­sure that busi­ness fol­low the rules, she added.

Daw Yee Yee Htwe, sec­re­tary gen­eral of Dawei Dis­trict Farm­ers Union, said the community had strong opin­ions on many of the is­sues.

“There are [al­ready] laws on land use in the re­gion but the community’s con­cern is how those laws are ap­plied,” she said. De­pend­ing on the is­sue, the law can of­ten be ap­plied one way for a community, but quite dif­fer­ently for a com­pany, she added.

Hav­ing made its voice heard on pol­icy, the community will be closely watch­ing how the govern­ment im­ple­ments the rec­om­mended mea­sures, Daw Yee Yee Htwe said.

Photo: Thiri Lu

A re­sort is built on Tizit beach near Dawei. The quiet beach is near the site of a Chi­nese plan to build Myan­mar’s largest oil re­fin­ery.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.