MRLG active at Mekong Land Research Forum

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MRLG active at Mekong Land Research Forum


29 August 2017

The research-based work of the Mekong Region Land Governance project has much to contribute to academic debate on land issues, as shown by a recent conference in Chiang Mai. The 10th International Convention of Asia Scholars, held on 20-23 July, was an opportunity for MRLG staff and partners to present and discuss findings from ongoing research activities.

A presentation on the political economy of land governance in Cambodia – presented by Jean-Christophe Diepart and Carl Middleton – was part of panel dedicated to an upcoming book on the theme ‘Turning Land into Capital in the Mekong Region’. (The book project emerged from the Political Economy of Land Governance working paper series edited by Philip Hirsch and Natalia Scurrah for MRLG -link here).

A second presentation, by Mr Diepart and Oeurl Il, was built on the work of the Analysing Development Issues Centre (ADIC) on land conflicts transformation in Cambodia.

The presentation – entitled Peasants, land struggles and State formation processes in Contemporary Cambodia – was part of a panel on Social Movements and Changing World Views in Rural Cambodia, and focused on three cases of struggles relating to Economic [State] Land Concessions in Oddar Meanchey, Kratie and Rattanakiri provinces. In the context of unequal power distribution amongst the actors involved, the presentation emphasised the role of the peasantry and its agency to resist and engage in negotiations with multi-levelled State authorities and markets forces. It also demonstrated and how the diversity of negotiations between actors reveal the fragmentation of state formation processes in Cambodia.

Taking advantage of the presence of many land experts working on the region, the Annual Workshop of the Mekong Land Research Forum supported by MRLG was held at Chiang Mai University On Saturday 22nd July 2017. Twenty land experts from academia, NGOS, and INGOs gathered to discuss the activities of the Mekong Land Research Forum, offering reflections on this existing work, and inspirations for future actions. Discussions revolved around three main themes: the Online resource ( that collates quality research on land governance issues in the Mekong region; the researcher network; and the Outreach program looking to improve training for upcoming researchers on land issues.

A briefing note “Questions on Land: Academic Perspectives from Thailand and Southeast Asia » was prepared by the Mekong Land Research Forum Coordinator, Daniel Hayward. It summarizes the main presentations and discussions on land which took place during the conference. It can be found at: