Land Briefings to promote multi-stakeholder collaboration

Across Myanmar local people lack the space to engage with stakeholders to resolve cases of land misappropriation. BadeiDha Moe is working to change this by using land Briefings as a force for peace in Myanmar . Our land briefings bring together local communities and key stakeholders from their areas.

How BadeiDha Moe uses land briefings as a force for peace in Myanmar

BadeiDha Moe has now held three land briefings in Northern Shan State, Southern Shan State and Mon State. At each of the land briefings, communities shared about their experiences to the relevant authorities in their areas and asked for cooperation and assistance to resolve the land conflicts in their areas.

 

U Sai Htun Aung, Kyaukme MP addresses the community and stakeholders at the Northern Shan State Land Briefing

 

The discussions at the land briefings centered around a series of land confiscations. For Northern Shan State, the following issues were discussed:

  • Two incidents of land confiscation by companies;
  • Two incidents of land confiscation by the military;
  • One incident of land confiscation by the Government Administrative Department

 

For Mon State the following issues were discussed:

  • One incident of land confiscation by military actors;
  • One incident of land confiscation by former military officers;
  • One incident of land confiscation by police officers;
  • Two cases of land confiscation by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation cases for building a dam

 

With the collaboration of the community and stakeholders, all parties were able to draw up action plans for the resolution of the above land disputes in Mon and Northern Shan State.  After drawing up action plans, stakeholders made promises to resolve the issues as quickly as possible. Additionally, the Government Administration Department began to contact and follow-up with some of the participants in order to resolve their cases.

 

BadeiDha Moe believes that the only way to resolve land issues within Myanmar and moreover the wider armed conflict is through peaceful dialogue and the results of these land briefings is proof that in Myanmar’s context conflict resolution is achievable through dialogue. We hope that these land briefings act as more than just a symbol of multi-stakeholder cooperation but a first step towards resolution of wider conflicts within Myanmar.

Land Tenure and Land Advocacy Assistance

BDM conducts Land Tenure and Land Advocacy Assistance. The Land Tenure Project intended to redraw land boundaries and maps to adjust the gap between the government department and the reality on the ground in Ayeyarwaddy Region. We conducted this project because the land map that the government department had was different from the land people owned. That’s why, we redrew land boundaries and maps to prevent land conflicts between both parties.

 

We also  carried out land advocacy in Northern Shan State, Southern Shan State, Mandalay Region and Yangon Region to help address the land conflicts happening among farmers, investors and the government. We delivered legal aid services; and legal literacy training for land management committees, duty bearers and community members. We also developed a land database website; opened a library; and played the negotiator role when necessary.

 

Goals (Overall Objectives)

  • In order for policy makers and administrative bodies to adjust land confiscation resolution mechanisms to prevent and resolve land disputes faced by community members
  • To improve land tenure security by building up the communities’ collective rights 
  • To make information of land issues in the target areas accessible to key stakeholders by developing a land dispute database website
  • To provide free legal aid services to the affected communities to resolve land disputes by using legal and procedural approaches

 

Objectives (Specific Objectives)

  • An increased in the use of law-abiding strategies by community members, civil society and community farmer networks based on the maps.
  • Land maps will be used to prevent and address land dispute cases and to advocate for policy change especially based on the NLUP
  • Local community based organizations and farmers will practice of cooperating and sharing information through the process of drawing maps
  • Duty bearers will be aware of the land use practices based on the actual maps

 

Key Activities

  • Organize networking and coordination meeting in each targeted village of Ayeyarwaddy Region
  • Build the capacity of responsible staff and targeted communities with on-the-job training
  • Draw maps of 9 villages of Thit Phyu Village Tract of Thar Paung Township
  • Conduct workshops for BDM staff and communities to gain the skills of drawing land maps and using GPS/GIS
  • Hold workshops with the communities to identify the type of land use in each targeted village
  • Analyze the maps for verification with the technical support of USAID experts
  • Provide the village-level land maps in the evidence-based advocacy process for NLUP and other land-related policies and laws

 

Community Map Developing and Land Use Inventory in Tharbaung Township in Ayeyarwaddy Region
Boundary Walk with Committee Members at Ma Yan Cho & Kone Son Village in Tharbaung Township in Ayeyarwaddy Region

 

1) Hold workshops on land rights, land laws, and legal literacy 

2) Identify land grabbing issues after collecting data in the targeted areas

3) Network with other land issue-based organizations at the state/ regional level

4) Develop the Land Database Website

5) Publish IEC materials that related with land laws and farmers rights including promoting of ODM website

6) Make the website publicly known including with MPs by holding a press conference in Nay Pyi Taw

7) Provide free legal aid services for farmers experiencing land grabbing

 

Legal Suggestion and Awareness at Tat Yar Kone Village in Thilawa in Yangon Region

 

Results

The community members in 9 villages of Thit Phyu Village Tract of Thar Paung Township have gained the skills of drawing land maps. They now know the land boundaries they own, various land use inventory and have collaborated with the relevant government departments. Moreover, we have been able to present about land mapping, land boundaries and land use inventory to the relevant state institutes at state/ regional and union levels with the leadership of USAID/ LTP.

Farmers have increased awareness on land tenure security; have formed farmers’ groups and committees; and have claimed their rights. In addition, they have learnt how to solve civil cases especially related to land grabbing. Previously they could not distinguish civil and criminal cases whenever they tried to solve land issues. This led to more criminal cases. Moreover, some farmers have acquired official documents of land ownership and their lands can no longer be grabbed easily. Finally, we, BDM CSO, could put land issues on the website and point out the land dispute areas clearly using upgraded Version – II.