Mekong Region Land Governance Project

The Recognition of Customary Tenure in Myanmar

The Recognition of Customary Tenure in Myanmar
This thematic study presents an analysis of customary tenure arrangements in Myanmar and identifies key challenges and opportunities for strengthening the recognition of customary tenure in the country. Drawing on examples from various regions and states, the study highlights key features of customary tenure systems, which vary depending on history, geography, resource base, ethnicity and social organization. It shows that customary tenure includes both communal land and private plots claimed by individuals or households, such as paddy land or permanent upland crops. Customary land is not formally recognized and at risk of appropriation by state and commercial interests. While the 2016 National Land Use Policy presents a major opportunity to strengthen the legal recognition of customary tenure in Myanmar, interim protection measures are needed while laws are being developed.

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