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Second Regional Meeting of the Mekong Land Research Forum
The second regional meeting of the Mekong Land Research Forum took place on 24th and 25th of March 2016, in Vientiane, organized by RCSD and MRLG. 32 participants comprised researchers operating through academic institutions, NGOs and independent projects. Nine countries were represented, including China, Thailand, and the CLMV cluster. Focussing on the topic of customary rights, the first day centred on a presentation by Mike Dwyer entitled “The formalization gap: Bringing the state back into customary tenure debates in the Mekong region”. This catalysed a lively debate on terminology, land rights legitimacies, and regional commonalities or diversities. The second day discussed pressing research issues in the Mekong Region, what tools researchers can best utilise, and how their work can interface with other stakeholders in land issues. Within this context, the role of the Mekong Land Research Forum to engage a researcher network was debated.
The Mekong Land Research Forum, based at RCSD (Regional Center for Social Sciences and Sustainable Development) in Chiang Mai Unversity, provides structured access through its online site to published and unpublished research on land issues in the Mekong Region (www.mekonglandforum.org). It also facilitates regional cooperation between researchers, whether in response to a specific request for commissioned research, or to assist with academic exchanges for students training in land governance issues. Researchers interested in joining the network can register here.