Discussions held on agribusiness concessions moratorium – Myanmar National Stakeholder Consultation

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Discussions held on agribusiness concessions moratorium – Myanmar National Stakeholder Consultation

Myno

14 November 2016

Discussions held on agribusiness concessions moratorium – Myanmar National Stakeholder Consultation

The second National Stakeholder Workshop started on the 10th of November 2016 with more than 65 participants from Myanmar Government, International NGOs, CSO partners and private sectors, as well as guests from Cambodia and Laos PDR. For one and half days, the participants discussed the key thematic areas of the MRLG country strategy and opportunities to work together, gaining insights from stakeholders to clarify options of MRLG’s strategy going forward.

Mr Kyaw Kyaw Lwin, Deputy Director General, Forestry Department, MONRE, opened the workshop, welcoming the multi-stakeholder workshop. This was followed by a very lively and interesting presentation from U San Thein about the state of land governance in Myanmar well received by the participants. He presented how the cases of grabbed land are handled by the parliamentarian committee.

The second National Stakeholder Workshop started on the 10th of November 2016 with more than 65 participants from Myanmar Government, International NGOs, CSO partners and private sectors, as well as guests from Cambodia and Laos PDR. For one and half days, the participants discussed the key thematic areas of the MRLG country strategy and opportunities to work together, gaining insights from stakeholders to clarify options of MRLG’s strategy going forward.

Mr Kyaw Kyaw Lwin, Deputy Director General, Forestry Department, MONRE, opened the workshop, welcoming the multi-stakeholder workshop. This was followed by a very lively and interesting presentation from U San Thein about the state of land governance in Myanmar well received by the participants. He presented how the cases of grabbed land are handled by the parliamentarian committee.

Lao and Cambodian representatives from Academia and Government presented in a panel discussion, the moratorium of new economic land concessions (ELCs) adopted since 2012 in their respective countries followed by a panel discussion. In both countries, the granting of ELCs at large scale caused a lot of problems and conflicts, and this is why the governments decided to issue a moratorium to re-evaluate their policy. In Cambodia, more than 500,000 ha of concessions have been cancelled. Challenges as having the data about ELC’s, the monitoring with or without CSO participation, and safeguards to be set up before cancelling the moratorium, were a key part of the discussion.

After the panel discussion, three breakout sessions were conducted and co-facilitated by the partners: Documenting Customary Tenure, return of confiscated land and Moratorium of new agribusiness lands concession.

The agenda of the three groups was presented with the following content and proposed action ideas:

Moratorium of new agribusiness lands concession:  the group plans to advocate and to initiate an open dialogue with government for a moratorium of new agribusiness concessions until proper legal framework and regulations in the Investment law are in place. There is a real need to develop proper monitoring and control mechanisms on existing concession and return of land, as well as compensations of past grabbing at market rates and in accordance with the law. The learning and alliance aim to: 1) develop recommendations for the new investment law/ regulations, 2) request background research on the impacts/ results of existing agribusiness concessions, and 3) organize stakeholder mapping to identify who can make decision on moratorium and investment law.

Return of the land: the group want to start with the analysis of the former land review committees on confiscated farm land and extract the lessons learnt from three or four cases know by the group participants. The cases will provide evidences and facts to start a policy dialogue.

Customary tenure:  All group members were interested in further participating in the use of the guide book to document customary tenure by local CSO. They agreed to conduct a meeting to share documentation experiences and to start a training of trainers based on the guidebook in January 2017.

In all three groups, the proposed activities correlate well with the presented country strategy of MRLG for 2016-2017.