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Study Tour to Chiang Mai Provides Lessons on Communal Land Titling and Registration
Under the framework of its Learning and Alliance Building Component, and with support from the Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD), Chiang Mai University, the Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project sponsored delegations from Lao PDR and Myanmar for a four-day study visit on the topic of communal land registration and titling in Chiang Mai province of Thailand.
The delegation consisted of fifteen representatives from various government and civil society stakeholder organizations in Lao PDR, including MoNRE’s Department of Land Administration, Department of Land Planning and Development; the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s, Department of Forestry, Department of Agricultural Extension and Cooperatives, and Department of Agricultural Land Administration and Management; GIZ, international NGO Village Focus International, with coordination of the study tour led by MRLG. Myanmar government representatives also joined from Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Forestry, and Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. The group were also grateful to receive technical guidance and support from USAID Land Tenure Expert, Mr Robert Oberndorf.
Previous to field visit to meet communities the delegations had the chance to discuss with two professors from the RCSD and a representative from a Thai civil society group. This discussion focused on the Thai experience of communal land registration and positive impact it has had on the productivity of agricultural land by strengthening the rights of local farmers to continue to use and manage their land, increasing their confidence to protect and work the land productively.
The study tour then traveled into two Sub-districts in Chiang Mai Province; Mae Faek in San Sai district and Mae Ta in Mae On district. In these areas, communities and community leaders, shared their experiences relating to communal land, including the situations that lead the communities to seek solutions through communal land registration. Participants discussed the benefits and challenges of models of communal land management and the registration process observed in the 2 communities and identified aspects that may be applicable in the context of their respective countries. Despite the differences in governance of the three countries, the teams identified common interests in productive agriculture, sustainable land use, rural development, and forest conservation.
Study tour participants learnt how communal land registration can be used to address issues faced by farming communities, and considered what practical issues should be considered prior to adopting the policy. All parties agreed to discuss possibilities for future collaborations. Outcomes and findings of the activity will be prepared by participants and shared through the next Land Sub-Sector Working Group Focal Group meeting on Communal Land Tenure, date to be confirmed.