The recognition of customary tenure systems and responsible land-based investments that safeguard legitimate tenure rights and right holders are the interconnected main themes for mainstreaming the principles and internationally recognized good practices of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) in Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Viet Nam.
The comparative analysis aims at providing an assessment of the legal frameworks in the four countries to analyse whether safeguards for legitimate tenure rights and tenure right holders can be identified in legal provisions applicable to decisions related to land-based investments in agriculture. The assessment also aims at informing and supporting ongoing processes of policy and legal reform, as well as the work of organizations that provide support to these processes. The analysis is based on a set of indicators, extracted from relevant binding agreements and guiding instruments like the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), enshrinement of the Housing, Land and Property rights (HLP) in the Constitution, the VGGT and the Principles for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems (known as CFS RAI).
The four countries are going through different processes of legal reform. These provide momentum and entry points to address the challenges and create opportunities for change that will benefit their agrarian and environmental transformation and reduce inequalities.
In particular free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) is a point of attention as no legal provisions were identified in the four countries. The VGGT Technical Guide on "Respecting free, prior and informed consent" (TG No. 3) has been translated in Cambodian language, and in Myanmar language (translation by Landesa).
The report "Responsible land-based investments in the Mekong Region: a comparative analysis of the legal frameworks of Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Viet Nam" is available at http://www.fao.org/3/cb3937en/cb3937en.pdf. The VGGT Technical Guide on FPIC is available at http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/i3496km in Cambodian language and at http://www.fao.org/3/i3496my/i3496my.pdf in Myanmar language.
These publications are possible thanks to the financial contributions from the Government of Switzerland (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Department for International Development) (for the publications related to Myanmar).