5th ~ 6th August 2019 – UN-Habitat in partnership with the Department of Urban Housing Development, Ministry of Construction supported the Yangon Region Government to organize a two-day workshop titled “Slums and Informal Settlements in Yangon: The Way Forward” on 5th and 6th of August at the Summit Parkview Hotel in Yangon.
The Chief Minister of Yangon Region, H.E U Phyo Min Thein, delivered remarks in the afternoon session. He expressed encouragement at the number of participants attending the important workshop and thanked UN-Habitat and the Ministry of Construction for arranging it. He recommended community housings should be managed in a way so as for people to their environment and to encourage young generation to volunteer in slum programmes. As a possible short term solution, the Yangon government plans to arrange for low-cost housing zones and basic infrastructure. He emphasized the long term solution will look at relocation as a possible solution for the most vulnerable slum dwellers. He concluded by expressing the hope that this important workshop’s outputs will be fruitful for the Yangon Region Government to sustainably address the issues of slums in Yangon City.
In the opening session of the workshop U Min Htein, the Director General of the Department of Urban and Housing Development (DUHD), Ministry of Construction, remarked on the rapid growth of Yangon City and informal settlements in the city. He further highlighted the need to find sustainable solutions for the slum dwellers living in informal settlement areas in Yangon with proper planning in line with rules and regulations. He concluded with the hope that this workshop would pave the way forward for solutions to informal settlements in Yangon.
The Country Programme Manager of UN-Habitat Myanmar, Mr. Bijay Karmacharya stated that Yangon has a long history of responses to address the problem of informal settlements in the city. He also dwelt on the universally recognized means of solutions to informal settlements and emphasized that all were in agreement that eviction is no longer a solution. He continued as “Under the leadership of Yangon Region Government working together with the Ministry of Construction, UN-Habitat hopes to be of assistance through this workshop in identifying effective and pro-poor solutions for existing informal settlements through intensive consultation on the main issues with the key stakeholders”.
In addition to comprehensive presentations on issues of informal settlements, and possible solutions from responsible government entities, development partners. The first day of the workshop had breakout discussions on key issues focusing on upgrading such as tenure security, housing financing, provision of services, integrated planning for urban renewal, policy, legal matter and institutions. The workshop continued the presentations and break out discussions on slum resettlement, community approached resettlement. The group discussions were on issues of land allocation, financing, social mobilization, integrated resettlement planning, and planning for prevention of formation of new slums. The second day of the workshop had some preliminary agreement on short-term and long-term solutions to the issues of upgrading and resettlement.
The workshop, funded by Sweden, was well participated in both by government officials, parliamentarians and various relevant stakeholders totaling about 170 participants.