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Political Economies of Land Governance
MRLG is pleased to announce publication of a series of country reports on the political economy of land governance in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam (CLMV), and on the Mekong Region as a whole. These reports were commissioned by MRLG and produced by a team led by Prof Hirsch at the University of Sydney, supported by a network of regional experts.
The country level and regional analyses address land governance from a political-economic perspective, in two main ways. First, they summarize what existing research tells us about power and configurations that shape access to and exclusion from land, particularly among smallholders, the rural poor, ethnic minorities and women. Second, they draw upon existing literature combined with the authors’ own assessment to suggest openings for and obstacles to land governance reform within the political economic structures and dynamics of each country.
The papers find that in all four countries and in the region as a whole, existing configurations of power lead to unequal distribution of land and related resources. They also produce outcomes that are socially exclusionary, environmentally unsustainable and economically inefficient. Power imbalances at various levels of society result in growing insecurity of land tenure, loss of access to resources by smallholders, increasing food and livelihood insecurity, and human rights abuses.
The first part of each paper explains why, how and with what results for different groups these exclusionary arrangements and outcomes are occurring. They also outline a number of reform initiatives that are underway in the Mekong Region. Most of these initiatives seek to enhance security of access to land by disadvantaged groups. They conclude by discussing the potential opportunities and constraints for reform, given the present political economic situation of the region.