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Yangon, 20 Jan 12

Director General U Aung Win of Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development (DHSHD), with the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ashok Nigam at the opening Ceremony © UN-HABITAT

The Union Minister of Construction, U Khin Maung Myint Friday opened Myanmar’s first Urban Research and Development Institute (URDI) to help local and national authorities ensure a better urban future for country.

The institute, established with UN-Habitat support within the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development, will conduct research to strengthen policy formulation and arrange training programmes to build national and local government capacities in inclusive urban planning and management. It will also foster urban-rural linkages.

Officials said the opening of institute marks the beginning of a wider collaboration between the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and the United Nations in the field of urban development, with a view to making the urban sector all inclusive, environmentally sustainable and complementary to rural development.

In his opening remarks the minister expressed his hope that the new institute would help the government’s drive to build a new, modern and developed nation. He added that the urban research and training would facilitate capacity building in the human resource sector that is a basic need for tackling urban issues.

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ashok Nigam said the establishment of the new institute represented a clear reflection of one of the United Nations core commitments to build the capacity of national counterparts. Mr. Nigam added that the United Nations and international community were currently witnessing exciting new developments in Myanmar, starting with the installation of the new government which created a clear window of opportunity to promote and strengthen collaboration and action for the country’s socio-economic progress.

UN-Habitat Myanmar Country Manager Srinivasa Popuri said the establishment of new urban institute was an integral part of the agency’s assistance being offered the government in its quest for a better future for the people of Myanmar.

UN-Habitat is cooperating with the relevant ministries in the sectors that are pertaining to Habitat Agenda and implementing several normative and operational activities focusing on basic access of services to settlements, while addressing matters of gender, risk reduction, environment and climate change.

UN-HABITAT and the Union Government of Myanmar, represented by Ministry of Construction, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in September 2011 for various technical cooperation programmes in Myanmar of which establishment of the new urban insitute and the development of national building code projects are supported by Norway.

UN-Habitat Myanmar this year plans to boost its normative programmatic support and technical assistance to several ministries and interest groups in the areas of urban poverty reduction, urban planning and development, urban-rural linkages, research, training and capacity building, land governance, local governance and leadership training and capacity development.

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