Discover hidden stories and unheard voices on land governance issues from around the world. This is where the Land Portal community shares activities, experiences, challenges and successes.
A really important report from the International Land Coalition and Oxfam is just out called ‘Uneven Ground: Land Inequality at the Heart of Unequal Societies’, along with 17 supporting papers. Through new analysis it shows that land inequality is even larger than previously thought, and that this has dramatic effects on poor people’s livelihoods, particularly those of women and young people.
By: Thais Bessa, gender advisor at Integrated Land and Resource Governance (ILRG).
Purnima Kora is an ambitious farmer. She owns two small parcels of land that she purchased with her husband’s support and years of savings she earned from farming PepsiCo potatoes and rice, as well as by leveraging micro loans through a women’s self-help group. She also leases another half-acre plot to farm potatoes.
In some closing words to the Forum, Vicky Tauli-Corpuz (UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, United Nations) applauded the attention given to customary land tenure. For communities there has always been a struggle for their practices to be acknowledged, despite the fact that these existed long before the arrival of state governments. She found much promise in some of the legal work taking place in the Mekong region.
The second day of the Forum built upon discussions around customary land tenure in the Mekong region, but with a focus upon private sector investment practices, particularly concerning agriculture and the potential impact on smallholder farmers, the rural poor, and the environment.
The third session of the Forum explored the nature of FPIC (Free, Prior and Informed Consent) and how it fits into the Mekong landscape, using case studies from a Vietnamese coffee project, and a company seeking land for eucalyptus plantations in Lao PDR.
The fourth session of the Mekong Land Forum introduced the ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Agricultural Investment and identified some of the challenges ahead in implementation. Two companies shared their experiences working with a strong policy in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), so that we could consider how company practices can align with the Guidelines.
The second session of the 3rd Mekong Regional Land Forum explored some of the regional and global trends in protecting local user rights in forests. In particular, it looked at some of the regional programs in social forestry and how these attempt to draw a balance between community needs and other demands for conservation, and exploitation for timber and non-timber resources.
The task of opening a large event is never easy. Within a short space of time, you need to set out a clear agenda, freshening the perspective of the viewer, and then clear the decks for discussion to move forwards rather than retread old ground. Following some introductory greetings from Jean-François Cuénod of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Micah Ingalls (Team Leader MRLG) took up the challenge.
The first session of the 3rd Mekong Regional Land Forum looked to clarify an understanding of customary land tenure systems, and bring a focus upon communities living in and around forestland areas of the Mekong region. The session observed some of the policy developments that could lead to greater recognition of customary tenure and land security for community members.
Summaries and selected replays from the 3rd Mekong Regional Land Forum are available below. Full replays of the plenary sessions will be posted shortly -- check back soon!
In the Mekong region, agriculture (including forestry and fisheries) employs over 43% of the population and contributes to around 16% to the regional GDP, making it an important sector for investment. Agricultural investment can be key to support economic growth, enhance food security and nutrition and reduce poverty, thereby contributing to the Agenda 2030. Yet, this investment must be responsible to generate sustainable benefits.
The recognition of customary tenure systems and responsible land-based investments that safeguard legitimate tenure rights and right holders are the interconnected main themes for mainstreaming the principles and internationally recognized good practices of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) in Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Viet Nam.