The political economy of land governance in Myanmar

TitleThe political economy of land governance in Myanmar
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsScurrah N, Hirsch P, Woods K
Place PublishedVientiane
Key themesAccessToJustice, AgriculturalModernization, CivilSociety-Donors, Conversion-FoodSecurity, Dispossession-grabbing, Distribution, Environment, FDI, Formalisation-titling, MarginalisedPeople, MigrationLabour, Policy-law

Myanmar is marked by a rapid opening of its economy to foreign investment. This has exacerbated insecurity over land in a country where arbitrary use of authority has troubled smallholders for decades. Close association between the military (which still controls the levers of government), domestic big business and foreign corporate interests produces a powerful force for land alienation in a country where the current accelerated development path is largely based on land-demanding projects. These projects include agribusiness plantations, extractives projects in the energy and mining sector, and special economic zones (SEZs). The space for open dialogue and challenges around these issues has opened up rapidly, leaving civil society, government officials and the international community scrambling to stay abreast. Meanwhile, new and complex issues have emerged on top of old problems as neoliberal approaches to turn land into capital see tenure reforms move in the direction of private land titling for smallholder sedentary lowland farmers. In addition, new land and investment-related laws enable foreign capital into land-based deals, particularly for agribusiness.



Document Type

Journal Article