Major Cities of Myanmar face great challenges to deliver high quality basic services to their citizens while urbanization is at an early but growing stage. While this urbanization process is closely linked to economic development, its effects on health can be contradictory. The urbanization of Myanmar should therefore be compensated by important efforts to expand and improve the quality of the services delivered.
In particular, improvements brought by new facilities can only sustainably and positively impact the population if they are implemented along with a significant technical assistance. Cities of Myanmar indeed lack the technical, human and financial resources to cope with population growth. In the meantime, while cities face similar problems with regard to the management of environmental services (such as drinking water supply, sanitation, solid waste management, etc.) they scarcely exchange their experiences and expertise with one another.
Based of these observations, the French Embassy in Myanmar, Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC) and GRET INGO initiated in 2016 a program aiming to bridge progressively the supply and demand gap on infrastructure services in Myanmar cities by strengthening the capacities of service managers, facilitating experience sharing between operators, and fostering local partnerships as well as mutual technical support.
In a context of rapid demographic growth and climate change, the ultimate objective of the capacity building program is to contribute to the improvement of the well-being of the urban population, while reducing pollution and damage to the environment. The long-term vision that the program derives from is the application to the Myanmar context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) approved by the United Nations in 2015: "Making the cities in Myanmar more sustainable, more resilient and more inclusive".
The achievement of this goal will require several important conditions to be fulfilled such as, among others, a strong political commitment, a clear policy framework, a sound institutional set-up, higher capacities of urban services provides, increased infrastructural investments, continuous local leaderships, etc. The ambition of the present program is to target specifically one of these conditions: building the capacities of the urban services providers. To do so, the program approach is founded on three pillars: (i) experience and expertise sharing, (ii) training and capacity building and (iii) implementation of pilot projects. The content of each component is tailored to reflect the specific expectations and major constraints of urban services operators. It considers also that solutions should first be looked within Myanmar by the existing operators and managers themselves.