How UNDP is supporting Myanmar's 'triple transition'

    UNDP Country Director Toily Kurbanov discusses reform efforts in Myanmar, and where they stand in comparison to other countries’ experiences with newfound openness and economic liberalization.

    After decades in isolation, Myanmar is back on the global scene in a big way — but democratic reforms are still nascent and uncertain, and aid donors and investors are working to navigate the difficult landscape left behind by military rule and political repression.

    Unlike many international organizations that suspended operations in Myanmar after the generals took over in 1962, only to return or initiate programs in recent years, the U.N. Development Program has operated continuously in the country for decades.

    We spoke with Toily Kurbanov, UNDP country director in Myanmar, to learn what the reform effort — and the efforts to support it — have been able to accomplish in the three years since the government relinquished full control over the economy and loosened some social and political restrictions.

    UNDP Myanmar Country Director Toily Kurbanov discusses the government’s willingness to hear feedback from its citizens and how UNDP is working to empower reform-oriented voices.

    As the U.N. agency is supporting in Myanmar a “triple transition” of nation-building, state-building, and economic liberalization, Kurbanov discussed where that transition currently stands, and why the international community should be patient.

    The country director also shared his views on how UNDP is working to provide Myanmar’s ministers with feedback from their constituents to open up lines of communication between the government and its citizens, something particularly challenging to government officials that have never experienced this, and locate change agents who can forward the reform agenda.

    To see the full version of our interview with Kurbanov, click here.

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    About the author

    • Michael Igoe

      Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.

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