LIFT (Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund) has launched a REAL DEV programme that invites partner agencies to work with the Government on land reclamation and reallocation in Magway, to develop a replicable approach and framework for reallocating State land reclaimed from concessionary holders to the rural poor, landless, and others; according to its website and Facebook page; on 14 December 2018.
Land in Our Hands (LIOH) and Myanmar Alliance for Transparency & Accountability (MATA) jointly send the open letter to LIFT regarding its recently launched call for proposal “REAL DEV Programme”; in 24 December 2018. LIFT responded to the open letter on (28 January 2019) with its safeguarding measures and additional steps based on the concerns raised by LIOH and MATA.
Based on the response of LIFT, the concerns have been come out and raised in addition to previous letter. The following is the letter sent to LIFT on 6 February 2019.
6 February 2019
Dear Katy Webley,
you for your clear and detailed response. We appreciate that LIFT has taken our
concerns into account, and has taken steps to change the programme to reflect
this. Despite the changes, we still have several concerns and questions. Please
see our concerns and questions below;
is no clear indication that LIFT intends to change their strategy for
implementing the programme. The programme will still use the VFV law, and
through doing this will strengthen the capacity of department to implement the
VFV law through building their technical capacity. The alterations to the
programme made after our discussion, instead of improving it will only
strengthen and legitimise the VFV implementation process via the introduction
of conflict sensitivity, transparency, and accountability protocols and
procedures. We are concerned that although LIFT does not endorse all aspects of
the VFV law, your actions in the programme continue to legitimise it.
Point 1: Stop-go mechanism
- How will the open, transparent, and participatory
process lead to secure land tenure? The tenure is being granted under the VFV
law which offers very little tenure security?
- The establishment of a dispute mechanism is a
good step, but it is important to work on the details. Who will be in charge of
the process should a dispute arise (GAD, MoALI, DALMS, LARC)? How will a
rightful claim to the land be assessed? Under the current land legislation, it
is very difficult to prove land ownership, especially in cases where land was
confiscated prior to 2012, and where it has been granted as a concession under
the VFV law as VFV land.
Point 2: Conflict Sensitivity
- We very much appreciate that LIFT has taken our
concerns seriously around conflict sensitivity, and is taking swift actions to
- We are somewhat concerned about the independent
monitoring mechanism, critical friends, and conflict sensitive advisory group.
It is important that LIFT contact civil society working in conflict areas who
have experience in and knowledge on the conflict context when looking for
advice, rather than relying only on larger more centrally established expert
peace groups. This will lead to more reliable and context relevant information
to support conflict sensitive programme planning and implementation.
you share the results of LIFT’s meeting with MoALI on January 14th 2019? Did
you raise the concerns of civil society about the VFV law that we shared with
you with Ministers, and if so what was their response?
In response to specific questions:
your response, you state that LIFT has ensured that this implementation will
not impact on larger states and regions because you are encouraging MoALI to
view this as a unique case, rather than a replicable process. In your response
you highlight that the land is State land, returned after the concession
recipients broke their agreement with the government. Our concern is that LIFT
does not take into account the history of the land concessions, looking at how
the land became State land in the first place, who the landowners were before
and whether they received compensation, and how the the companies it was
granted to were selected.
In response to Question 2 about programme
governance and implementation.
the implementation Committee, what processes will be in place around decision
making, especially to ensure that the final decision making powers are not
vested in one stakeholder? Considering Myanmar’s political history, we are
concerned that the chosen Chairperson will hold disproportionate sway in the
Committee, and will be able to make all final decisions without much
welcome LIFT’s motivations to improve the attitudes, behaviours, approaches,
and to build the competency of those charged with land allocation and registration.
This is key to pushing equitable reform in the country, and LIFT is strongly
positioned to have a positive impact here. Taking this into consideration we
encourage LIFT to establish a clear policy on Myanmar’s land reforms that
contributing to peace, sustainability, and equitable reform. This could be
achieved through facilitating open and robust dialogue between stakeholders
involved in land use and governance, especially the GAD, MoALI, LARC, civil
society, smallholder farmers and Ethnic Governance representatives. We also
encourage LIFT to recognise the Ethnic Land Governance administrative
structures already in place across the country and their associated policies
when approaching future programming. By promoting dialogue between those who work
with and rely on land across the country, and all of the systems currently in
place to govern this, LIFT will much better positioned to promote actual secure
land tenure, and programmes that support peace in Myanmar.
Secretariat Team | Land in Our Hands (LIOH)