“Innovations in rural land policy and tenure in Southeast Asia”

Since the early 1980s land administration system projects have revolved around delivering and formalizing ‘old type’ tenures derived from stable legal orders and institutional recognition. Land administration designs and conventional tenure typologies are often engineered to suit assimilation of land arrangement into formal property markets. However, in developing countries in Southeast Asia the majority of the rural poor rely on systems of access to land sourced in social practice not law or government. Formalizing these socially derived access modes by using familiar land administration tools of security of tenure, land rights, spatial identification and institutionalization of credit systems is now seen as problematic, especially in the context of deeply entrenched poverty. Innovations in project designs are slowly responding to research results emerging from sustainable development objectives and changes to land policy. The first section of this paper reviews land policy and land administration theories in the context of providing a primary poverty reduction strategy over the past three decades. It is then argued that land administration reform for the rural poor must be designed in the context of the totality of arrangements and social practices relating to local land, labour and product market.
Dalrymple, Kate , Wallace, Jude and Williamson, Ian