“Land Reinvestigation Guidebook” officially presented to MoALI departments in Myanmar

On 18 March 2020, the Department of Agriculture Land Management and Statistics (DALMS) held the official launching event for the Guidebook ‘Basic Principles of Practical Land Administration’ (“the Land Reinvestigation Guidebook”) co-published by MRLG and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI) in Naypyitaw, Myanmar.

Since 2016, in order to address widespread discontent over land confiscation and land acquisition by various state authorities or private interests, (that resulted in decades-long land disputes), the Myanmar Government formed “Committees for Re-investigation of Farmland and other Land Acquisition” at union, state/region, district and township levels. This included not only relevant technical departments, but also members of parliament and civil society representatives. The role of these Reinvestigation Committees is to review the complaints related to land submitted to them and ensure that the appropriate measures are taken to find a reasonable solution.

Despite some policy guidelines prescribed by the Central Committee at union level, many of the members of these committees lack the necessary understanding of the basic principles of land governance and the current land administration regulations in Myanmar, and thus lack the capacity to articulate these principles into practice. These weaknesses have affected the effectiveness of the Committees to address the cases submitted to them and to apply a due process. This guidebook provides guidance to the committee members, but also for all the people concerned and impacted by land issues to analyse a specific situation, understand what law and regulation applies, refer the cases to the appropriate level of the administration and assess how it needs to be addressed.

More than 60 government officials from all the departments of the Ministry attended the launch event, including the Union Minister, Dr Aung Thu, Deputy Minister and Directors. The Minister delivered an opening remark highlighting the commitment and efforts of the government to address land issues and shared his appreciation that the guidebook is an important tool to help find appropriate answers to the grievances according to existing legal processes.

U Hlwan Moe, the guidebook author and Deputy Director General of Department of Agriculture Land Management and Statistics (DALMS), presented the purpose of the guidebook and its key components, followed by discussions regarding the practical application of the guidebook with the participants.

The Union Minister, Dr. Aung Thu welcomed the publication of the Guidebook and further stressed the need to provide specific trainings to government officials and members of Reinvestigation Committees to build their capacity to address land complaints.

MRLG is supporting the dissemination of over two thousand copies of the guidebooks to Union level ministries and departments at State/Regional and township levels across the country. The Ministry and MRLG are further discussing the design of a training programme based on the Guidebook.

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