Convergence Under Pressure: Different Routes to Private Ownership Through Land Reforms in Four Mekong Countries (Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Viet Nam)

This paper aims to provide keys that will help us understand contemporary land dynamics in these four countries. In order to do so it highlights their similarities and differences, both in the long history that shaped today’s local land situations and in more recent reforms implemented in the context of greater economic openness. The first part of the paper sets the cultural and historical context, with an overview of the diverse ways that the political authorities and different groups within the region have related to land. After a brief review of the colonial and socialist chapters of their history, the second section looks at the different stages of reforms that have been implemented since the late 1980s. Having set the scene, the third section then considers the current situation through the prism of four of today’s most sensitive land issues.

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