This paper analyzes the work and role of the Development Affairs Organization (DAO) introduced in the local governance system in Myanmar through the 2008 Constitution. It traces its evolution and looks at the functioning and efficacy of the officials, the DAOs, through the analytical lens proposed by development economist, Judith Tendler in her path breaking book (1997), Good Government in the Tropics. In a country without a third tier of governance, the DAOs are representative of the state and are a major basic services provider. I find DAOs to be functioning as the face of the state at the local level, even as they face many limitations under the GAD (General Administration Department) and cannot fully provide the ‘missing link’ between the central state and municipal governance in Myanmar.
Einaudi Center for International Learning, the South East Asia Program and the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University.
Myanmar; Governance; Municipal administration; History; DAO