Improving governance of tenure in policy and practice: The case of Myanmar

Related GLP Member: Louisa Jansen

Abstract

With increasing pressures on scarce land and natural resources, responsible governance of tenure to protect rights and right holders of these resources becomes pivotal. Especially if the livelihoods of these right holders is directly linked to having access to and control over these resources. A human-rights based approach for the responsible tenure governance is needed, recognizing, respecting and securing tenure rights to resources of individuals, communities or peoples both in policy and practice. With wide ownership by and commitment of governments, civil society and private sector, the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) represent an unbiased and consensus-based framework in which new policies are being influenced in participatory and inclusive ways. In Myanmar, the process of the National Land Use Policy enabled four aspects of implementation, which come with the greatest benefits when these are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, to come together. These aspects are awareness raising and common understanding, multi-stakeholder processes and platforms, system-wide capacity development, and supporting efforts embedding the VGGT in national policies and law processes. The quality of these aspects, and not their speed, determine the VGGT implementation process in achieving improved tenure governance in policy and practice. In Myanmar this concerns in particular recognition of customary, communal and ethnic tenure systems, and women’s rights to land and natural resources.