This is another issue linked to the on-going peace talks and political dialogue process that is being contemplated as part of the official endeavors. Varying perspectives emerged on this. Bayda Institute identifies the need to explore out of the box solutions as well as possibilities of practicing federalism within the 2008 constitution.
Bayda Institute believes that a historical understanding of the 1948 Panglong Conference and the spirit of the formation of the union is important as that gives clues to address some of the current issues and debates on federalism. Similarly other countries experiences would also enable Myanmar to identify its own ‘ home grown’ solution to federalism.
Given that most stakeholders identify 2008 constitution as contentious in terms of identifying right kind of federal structure with separation of powers, devolution and decentralisation; it is important to address this issue upfront through research and policy advocacy. Key aspects would be what are the expectations and possibilities from the perspective of various stakeholders (political parties, the Tatmadaw, ethnic armed organisations (who signed NCA) and others who are still outside. More importantly how the communities and other players identify with these issues and what are their views becomes significant in identifying solutions that fits the perspectives of all.
Bayda Institute would undertake research on issues of federalism, particularly focusing on ethnicity and cultural aspirations of the people living in border states, the spirit of federalism as evolved from 1935-2017, constitutional understanding and other country experiences, how extent federal arrangements are functioning under 2008 constitution and experiences of devolution after 2015 and natural resource governance issues linked to federalism and resource sharing. All these are critical as they inform policy and processes to be adopted to build consensus on this issue. These form basis for on-going peace process itself.
Apart from research Bayda Institute will undertake policy development based on the findings and also undertake advocacy and public awareness on these issues across the country.