Over 80 participants at the Resilience Academy workshop identified crosscutting shocks and stresses for Yangon, and developed project concepts that would increase the city’s climate resilience.
The three-day Resilience Academy was organized by the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC), ADB, and the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund (UCCRTF) on 26 to 28 September in Yangon. The event provided participants from the YCDC, Yangon Region, development partners, NGOs and key experts, an opportunity to come together and discuss the climate vulnerabilities and resilience response requirements of Yangon.
Using a participatory workshop format, the Resilience Academy guided participants to appropriate the concept of urban climate resilience and brainstorm project ideas in different sectors such as water supply, flood control, urban planning, housing, wastewater management, and solid waste management. These ideas are meant to feed directly into the design of a community-led project that will be financed by the UCCRTF, which will then support the larger proposed ADB loan project, the Yangon Urban Service Improvements Program – Phase 1 (YUSIP1).
Participants were grouped according to specific sectors, which allowed for a richer discussion throughout the three-day workshop.
Currently under preparation, YUSIP1 aims to improve the urban environment and public health conditions in Yangon City.
Prior to the Resilience Academy and identifying a community-led project to fund, the UCCRTF already conducted a scoping study in 2017; and as part of its continuing effort to contribute to YUSIP1, a baselining survey to assess urban resilience at the city and household levels will be conducted soon.
ADB Resilience Academy
While the aim of the Resilience Academy was to develop concepts that could feed into YUSIP1 or be considered for funding as a community-led project, its format provided a more holistic view of Yangon’s resilience. This allowed participants to identify several opportunities for planning and investment that are not covered by existing interventions.
The participants were tasked to go through three interactive modules, so as to increase their understanding and awareness of resilience issues in Yangon. Module 1 focused on understanding of the wide-range of crosscutting shocks and stresses and identifying challenges. Module 2 was about identifying urban resilience values and goals, and designing a resilience project and Module 3 was on implementing urban resilience projects and applying resilience thinking.
On Day 1, morning sessions were composed of plenary presentations, followed by breakout sessions in the afternoons where each group developed their project concepts. The plenary sessions included inputs on ongoing projects in Yangon.
On Day 2, participants had the opportunity to join one of three site visits arranged by YCDC: a waste-to-energy plant, wastewater treatment plant; and, a water reservoir. On Day 3, a panel discussion composed of five international experts focused on suggestions for sustainable and resilient urban infrastructure services. Each focus group then presented their workshop outputs, a result of brainstorming between subject matter experts, NGO representatives, and government participants since Day 1.
Participants of the recently concluded Resilience Academy in Yangon, Myanmar.
Part of the workshop format was also grouping participants into sector-specific focus groups, which was deemed as particularly effective in increasing the exchange of ideas between participants. The participants were divided into the following five focus groups for discussion: water supply and water resources management; sewerage; solid waste management; flooding and climate disasters; and, urban planning and housing.
To ensure integrated thinking, the discussion cut across vast interrelated topics, including but not limited to: Yangon city development vision and strategies, urban environment and public health, urban land use planning, key urban infrastructure and services, financing urban development, climate change impacts, urban resilience to shocks and stresses, informal settlements, vulnerable communities and community-led initiatives, and urban governance.
Ideas for Yangon
By the end of the workshop, 10 project concepts were proposed by the focus groups. These are shown in the table below.
The integration of the outputs of the Resilience Academy into the YUSIP1 design will be ensured through close collaboration. The Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA) is another partner supporting YUSIP1, albeit with project preparation studies.
The Resilience Academy workshop provided an important platform for further cooperation and engagement with Yangon city and other stakeholders.
Highlights from the Yangon Resilience Academy
Integration of climate resilience principles into city’s urban development interventions. The format and content of the workshop, as well as the wide lens it adopted, proved useful in assisting YCDC to effectively integrate urban resilience principles into Yangon’s urban development. This supplemented the main aim of the Resilience Academy to support the design of the ADB loan project in preparation, YUSIP1, and the community-led projects.
Taking an inclusive and participatory approach. There are a number of ongoing activities in Yangon supported by ADB, UCCRTF, and other organizations. The Resilience Academy is a useful platform for developing connections between several ongoing activities. Bringing different stakeholders together in one venue helped to establish a good understanding of the development landscape and identify areas of collaboration among the various parties.
Building local capacity. The Resilience Academy facilitated the exchange of ideas between participants and subject matter experts, which is a rare occurrence, as the two parties usually do not have a chance to interact in such an intensive way. The process helped broaden their understanding of urban climate resilience beyond the specific offices or sectors they are involved in. Local facilitators were trained to conduct the workshops to facilitate discussion using the local language.