Politics and Policies

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Johanna Götz—The Politics of Water Governance in Myanmar/Burma

Against the background of ongoing political changes, Myanmar with its diverse society is at a crucial point of negotiating the ways and scales at which water will be decided upon in the future. With clear rules and laws around water yet to be established, different narratives around water governance become prevalent: Building on semi-structured interviews with relevant stakeholders, document analysis and a media discourse the presented Master thesis (work in progress) looks at national-level water policy making as well as localized hydrosocial visions using the example of the Salween Peace Park, Mutraw (Papun) District, Karen State. Taking into consideration a complex history and the ongoing peace process, it is argued that the scales of water governance are currently being contested and can be seen as a key battleground for future decision-making and the power relations of actors involved.

Siebert, Felix—Traffic Safety in Myanmar: Challenges in the Decade of Action for Road Safety

The Decade of Action for Road Safety, proclaimed by the United Nations Assembly in 2010, aims to reduce road traffic fatalities around the world. Through different activities in the fields of road safety management, road user behavior, safer vehicles and post-crash response, the Decade is designed to halt the expected increase of road traffic fatalities that was predicted for 2020. Progress in the Decade is tracked by the Global Status Report on Road Safety by the World Health Organization. Myanmar plays a special role in the Decade. After the lifting of import restrictions on motor vehicles in the wake of the constitutional referendum, the number of motorcycles in the country has increased more than six-fold. This rapid motorization has led to a rise in traffic accidents, and the Global Status Report on Road Safety estimates that every year over 10,000 road traffic fatalities occur in Myanmar. Multiple actors, including ministries, international organizations, local NGOs, and researchers from academia have since become active to increase traffic safety in the country through different means. This talk will consist of two parts; first, a broad overview of traffic safety advocates in the country is given. After this, the collaborative work of the local NGO Myanmar Organization for Road Safety and the Technical University of Berlin on motorcycle helmet use is presented in detail. During 6 weeks in the summer of 2016, over 120,000 motorcycle riders were filmed in traffic, and their helmet use was coded. Results show a low rate of helmet use of 52% across motorcycle drivers and passengers. Further results on differences between helmet use at rural and urban observation sites, and in different cities will be presented, and an outlook on future traffic safety related work in Myanmar will be given.

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