Strengthening Land Governance

Project completed

Implemented by three partners, this project strengthens capacity for land governance among government, civil society, and ethnic nationality leaders and communities. The Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern provides technical support to the government for the implementation of an open access spatial data platform on land-related information. The Land Core Group (LCG) works through a network of local and international NGO and civil society partners to increase capacity for research, advocacy and awareness on land tenure security; while Transnational Institute (TNI) focuses on supporting ethnic nationalities in ceasefire areas to increase their understanding and practices around equitable land governance. All three partners work to build national consensus on approaches to securing land tenure for women and ethnic minorities, including under customary systems.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Myanmar
Agriculture & food security
Agricultural land resources
Agricultural policy
01.10.2014 - 31.05.2017
CHF 3'900'000
Background

The recent transition to market economy and creation of land market has led to increased land speculation. In the face of weak legal frameworks and institutions for their protection, the land access of women and men farmers, especially those (mostly ethnic minorities) living in upland shifting cultivation areas, is at risk. Land governance will be a central issue in any political dialogue with ethnic leaders. The rapidly evolving political environment presents both opportunities and risks for equitable land governance.

Objectives

National capacity for equitable and sustainable land governance has increased among government, formal and informal leaders, civil society, and women and men of all ethnicities.

Target groups

Smallholder and landless women and men who have improved security of tenure to land and natural resources, including ethnic minorities practicing rotating fallow systems, as a result of better policy and practice. Government staff involved in land-related spatial data collection and dissemination. Ethnic group leaders and linked civil society who have increased their understanding of how to solve land governance problems. Special emphasis on smallholders, ethnic minorities and civil society and the private sector in the southeast of Myanmar.

Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: An online open-access spatial data platform on land-related information facilitates transparent analysis of accurate data, accountable land governance and development planning by government and citizens.

Outcome 2: Increased capacities and improved policy in support of smallholder access to land, including women, ethnic minorities and other vulnerable populations.

Outcome 3: Ethnic and ceasefire organizations successfully defend the interests of their communities in land-related policy and practice, including national political dialogue.

Results

Expected results:  

  • An accurate and reliable government-managed database has been launched, with some aspects already open and enriched data on one geographic focus area (Tanintharyi); key government staff trained; an analysis of land concessions in Myanmar initiated.
  • More effective land policy frameworks and recommendations for tenure mechanisms.
  • Government, civil society, farmers and formal and informal ethnic minority leaders, including in ceasefire areas, have increased ability to work together towards improved policy and practice for smallholder land tenure security.


Results from previous phases:  

Key results of the inception phase include:

  • Selection through public tender of Center for Development and Environment (CDE) to implement the partial action on public access to land information; the elaboration of their project, and establishing relationships with government and other partners.
  • Organizational development of local NGO Land Core Group (LCG) for actions in support of land governance, including facilitation of extended public consultations on the land use policy, while drafting a strategy, establishing a Board of Directors, and building human resource and other structures.
  • Elaboration of Transnational Institute’s (TNI) model of policy engagement with ethnic armed group actors and consolidation of a civil society network around land access.

Key insights include:

  • The extended public consultations for the national land use policy helped build a measure of trust between civil society and government; or at least established a venue for open debate.
  • All perspectives in the range of the civil society need to be given space to be part of the debate; current partners TNI, LCG and Paungku (under Local Governance Domain) are at the forefront of the discussion, though not always in positive coordination.
  • Maintaining a positive working relationship between the range of civil society actors and government agencies, as well as ethnic representatives, will be critical to success; through careful facilitation of processes, and encouraging restraint among key stakeholders.
  • The key to harnessing the power of tensions will be continued debate, focusing on common objectives, transparency of agendas, and technical articulation of issues to expose the root of problems while posing solutions.


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign academic and research organisation
International or foreign Non-Governmental Organization
Swiss Academic and Research Institution
  • Other Academic Research North
  • SDC Field Office
  • Unversität Bern


Other partners

Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry

Coordination with other projects and actors

USAID-funded Tenure and Global Climate Change project; EU; Paungku (Local Governance Domain)

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   3'900'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   3'126'107
Project phases Phase 99 01.05.2021 - 31.12.2023   (Planned) Phase 2 01.06.2017 - 31.05.2021   (Current phase)

Phase 1 01.10.2014 - 31.05.2017   (Completed)