It follows a request made to IPU during an earlier mission to Myanmar in March for such assistance.
The latest mission is the first in a series of practical steps to be undertaken by IPU to assist parliamentary authorities in Myanmar. It will review how parliament is currently working, identifying and tackling urgent issues before the next full session of parliament. The IPU team will also meet leaders of all political parties, parliamentary speakers, chairs of committees, women and new members of parliament as well as parliamentary staff.
During the 10-day mission, IPU will examine, amongst other things, the relationship between the Myanmar parliament and the government; the structure and relationship of the two parliamentary chambers; the role and responsibilities of the political opposition in parliament, the relationship with the electorate and civil society in general and measures to strengthen the parliament’s ability to address gender issues.
It will also examine systems for legislative drafting and oversight as well as identify ways in which parliament can play a greater role in promoting and defending human rights.
The four-member mission will also begin practical work on providing parliamentarians and parliamentary staff a preliminary understanding of democratic concepts and parliamentary good practices.
This will include a workshop for parliamentary staff on their contribution to the effective running of a parliament.
Initial meetings with MPs, including women MPs on Monday, have yielded interesting discussions on parliamentary needs, skills and knowledge gaps as well as concerns on some gender issues.
Following the submission of the findings to the Myanmar parliamentary authorities, IPU will prepare a long-term assistance programme aimed at strengthening the Myanmar parliament’s legislative, oversight and representational roles in a bid to subsequently strengthen democratic and accountable governance.
“The long-term plan that will emerge from this mission will not only assist Myanmar at this critical juncture, but will also provide a unique insight into how to help the country in a tangible way for those who want to lend effective support to Myanmar,” says Anders B. Johnsson, IPU Secretary General
The IPU mission to Myanmar, whose parliament re-joined IPU in April, is the latest in a long line of similar assistance to countries in political transition, including Tunisia and Egypt in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.