The Forum took place on 26 and 27 May 2021 and was organized by MRLG, FAO and the Land Portal. The Forum focused on advancing the recognition of customary rights and responsible investment practices in Mekong forest landscapes, bringing together reform-minded actors within and beyond the region to engage in in-depth, interactive debate on issues that cut to the core of local tenure security and community resource management.
Day 1 of the Forum focused on advancing customary and collective forest tenure rights. The first session compared and examined experiences and approaches within national tenure regimes in the Mekong countries. The second session situated these experiences within global trends, emphasizing the potential for regional platforms such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to foster more inclusive and grounded policies for the sustainable management of forests.
Day 2 of the Forum focused on how to manage and respond to patterns and practices of investment in Mekong forest landscapes, which is a key issue for smallholder tenure security within the Mekong countries. The third session aimed at demystifying the principles of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) – principles that are designed to protect the rights of communities to land and resources and also to protect investments by avoiding land conflicts. The fourth session highlighted the potential effectiveness of tools such as the ASEAN Guidelines for Responsible Agricultural Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry (ASEAN-RAI) in steering agribusiness investments towards a more sustainable future.
This summary of the Forum aims at reflecting the quality of the presentations and discussions and provides inspiration for the participants to continue promoting the land rights of forest communities across the region.
Authors and Publishers
Antoine Deligne, Daniel Hayward, Natalie Y. Campbell, Robert Cole and Micah Ingalls
Land governance is at the center of development challenges in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. Governments are revising land policies and practices in order to face these challenges. The project aims to (i) assist the emergence of more favorable policies and practices for securing the rights and access of family farmers to land and natural resources; and (ii) to strengthen the effectiveness of concerned stakeholders through learning, alliance building and regional cooperation.