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Mekong Regional Land Forum to take place this week

The 3rd Mekong Regional Land Forum (MRLF2021) is scheduled to take place on May 26-27, linking global participants with those from the Mekong region.
The event addresses the theme of “Land tenure in Mekong forest landscapes: advancing the recognition of customary rights and responsible investment practices”.
Due to Covid 19 restrictions on travel and public gathering, the forum will be held online by the Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project, together with the Land Portal.
MRLF2021 brings together more than 700 reform-minded actors within and beyond the region to engage in debate on the most pressing challenges facing tenure security in forest areas and the impacts of agribusiness investment.
“It is our hope that giving global visibility to the Mekong Regional Land Forum and showcasing good practices and approaches will inspire other stakeholders in other corners of the world,” said Laura Meggiolaro, Land Portal Team Leader.
“The more than 700 registered participants from all over the globe demonstrates a great of interest in learning more about the land governance challenges and opportunities in the Mekong,” she emphasised.
The two-day forum will focus on the customary tenure rights, applying principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) to avoid land conflicts and protect the rights of communities, and Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI) in Mekong forest landscapes, according to according to MRLG.
“The rapid growth of land-based investments has not only created new opportunities for economic growth and rural development, but has also produced important social and environmental impacts, including the displacement of smallholder farmers. What is critical here, but often unrecognised, is that smallholder farmers are really the engines of economic growth in the agriculture, and collectively represent by far the largest private sector investors in the region,” said Dr Micah Ingalls, MRLG Team Leader.
“This is where we really need to see change national policies and development priorities that address the concerns of these stakeholders as a first-order priority. We look forward to debating and discussing this in the Forum.”
There has been a rapid expansion in agribusiness investments and commodity crops across the Mekong region over the past decades. While this has opened new opportunities for farmers, it has also exposed them to new risks relating to market conditions and uncertainties as well as impacts from the increased use of chemical inputs, according to MRLG.
All main sessions will be in English which will be attended by representatives from government agencies, the private sector, civil society, development agencies, academia, researchers and students.
MRLG has previously organised two Regional Land Forums, in Hanoi in 2016 and in Bangkok in 2018. For more information, visit this link: https://landportal.org/event/2021/04/3rd-mekong-regional-land-forum/agenda

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update May 24, 2021)

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