The State of Local Governance: Trends in Ayeryarwady


Executive Summary

This report outlines the results of the Local Governance Mapping conducted by UNDP in Ayeyarwady Region in May 2014. Based on the perceptions of the people and local governance actors, the mapping has tried to capture some key aspects of the current dynamics of governance at the frontline of state-citizen interaction and focuses in its analysis on participation in public sector planning, access to some basic services and accountability in local governance.

The results are drawn from three townships, which were selected as they represent the various geographic and economic realities within Ayeyarwady Region. Each has a large number of wards/village tracts and large populations. At the same time, they also capture some of the diversity across the Region’s 26 townships. Located in the heart of the Irrawaddy delta, Labutta is the least accessible of the three townships, with many of its villages connected by water transportation only. Population density is much lower in Zalun, which is situated in a low-lying area prone to flooding, though transport connections to the Region capital and Yangon are relatively good. Pathein township is co-located with the regional and district hubs and is the most urban of the townships, hosting the seat of the Region Government.

The mapping finds that the resilience, experience and capacity developed by communities and local governance actors in response to Cyclone Nargis of 2008 has left them comparatively well-placed to implement local governance reforms. However, it also identifies a number of areas that can be the focus of further reforms in order to optimise the opportunities they offer to enhance people’s participation and improve responsiveness to local development needs.