Mekong Land Research Forum

The Mekong Land Research Forum seeks to bring research and policy a bit closer together. It does this in part by making the research more accessible and in part by helping to distill the key messages and points of debate so that information overload does not overwhelm policy makers and other advocates for progressive policy reform.

The Mekong Land Research Forum online site was developed in 2015 by a team at the University of Sydney, as part of an exercise carried out with the Mekong Region Land Governance program. This exercise also included the writing of country papers on the political economy of land governance in CambodiaLaosMyanmarVietnam, and one Regional overview paper. The Regional Centre for Social Science and Sustainable Development at Chiang Mai University manages the resource as part of the Mekong Land Research Forum. Further information on the Forum is available here. An application form to join our research network can be found here.

Mekong Land Research Forum Resources

Displaying 1 - 10 of 284
Reports & Research
December 2016

ABSTRACTED FROM EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Rubber prices in northern Laos have fallen significantly over the last few years, eroding much of the enthusiasm developed by both farmers and government officials in the 1990s and early 2000s about rubber providing a way out of poverty for poor upland farmers.

Reports & Research
December 2015

PUBLISHER'S ABSTRACT: The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 September 2007. Since then, the importance of the role that indigenous peoples play in economic, social and environmental conservation through traditional sustainable agricultural practices has been gradually recognized.

Journal Articles & Books
December 2015

In a widely read paper, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, World Bank and others propose systematic property rights formalization as a key step in addressing the problems of irresponsible agricultural investment. This paper examines the case of Cambodia, one of a number of countries where systematic land titling and large-scale land concessions have proceeded in parallel in recent years.

Reports & Research
December 2015

ABSTRACTED FROM THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Myanmar’s agricultural sector has for long suffered due to multiplicity of laws and regulations, deficient and degraded infrastructure, poor policies and planning, a chronic lack of credit, and an absence of tenure security for cultivators. These woes negate Myanmar’s bountiful natural endowments and immense agricultural potential, pushing its rural populace towards dire poverty. This review hopes to contribute to the ongoing debate on land issues in Myanmar.

Journal Articles & Books
December 2015

To disentangle the issue concerning which dimensions of land rights, among security, tradability and pledgeability, affect agricultural outcomes, this paper exploits a unique partial land rights entitlement programme in Thailand, which guarantees only security, allows a limited access to credit, and prohibits any land sale. Based on an instrumental variable strategy, I find that the entitlement increases (1) second rice but not major rice productivity, (2) land use intensity, and leads to changes in (3) land use pattern, (4) land-related investment, and (5) better soil quality.

Reports & Research
December 2015

As Myanmar’s junta prepared to step down from government, the military set about seizing public assets and natural resources to ensure its economic control in a new era of democratic rule. Guns, Cronies and Crops details the collusion at the heart of operations carried out by Myanmar’s armed forces in northeastern Shan State. Large swathes of land were taken from farming communities in the mid-2000s and handed to companies and political associates to develop rubber plantations.

Policy Papers & Briefs
December 2015

Myanmar has recently positioned itself as the world’s newest frontier market, while simultaneously undergoing transition to a post-war, neoliberal state. The new Myanmar government has put the country’s land and resources up for sale with the quick passing of market-friendly laws turning land into a commodity. Meanwhile, the Myanmar government has been engaging in a highly contentious national peace process, in an attempt to end one of the world's longest running civil wars.

Journal Articles & Books
December 2015

ABSTRACTED FROM THE INTRODUCTION: ...the book includes 10 chapters. The first chapter provides the overview of the conceptual approach of the program and a synthesis of key findings. The core of the book consist of eight chapters which have been grouped thematically in four sections: water management and agriculture; agricultural innovation and food security; land use change and food security strategies in communities of indigenous people; and environmental change in fishing communites.

Policy Papers & Briefs
December 2015

To date, REDD+ projects in Laos have made relatively conservative choices on driver engagement, focusing on smallholder-related drivers like shifting cultivation and small-scale agricultural expansion, to the exclusion of drivers like agro-industrial concessions, mining concessions and energy and transportation infrastructure. While these choices have been based on calculated decisions made in the context of project areas, they have created a pair of challenges that REDD+ practitioners must currently confront. The first is lost opportunity.

Journal Articles & Books
December 2015

This article examines changing contexts and emerging processes related to “land grabbing.” In particular, it uses the case of Laos to analyze the driving forces behind land takings, how such drivers are implied in land policies, and how affected people respond depending on their socio-economic assets and political connections.