Preserving land reform momentum in Myanmar; New podcast and policy brief on land and climate change; Staff Spotlight on Masalu Luhula
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Adapting approaches in Myanmar

Landesa staff with Myanmar Forest Department officials in a boat.

PHOTO: In the remote communities of Kawthaung in Myanmar, Landesa’s district lead U Myo Zaw Oo (left) works with Forest Department officials to certify a new mangrove forest. More than 5000 acres have already been protected in Kawthaung, securing the forestland rights of several hundred vulnerable families dwelling there, and protecting the livelihoods of thousands more of their neighbors.

KAWTHAUNG, MYANMAR — Agility is essential to a successful land rights reform program – a lesson passed down through our work since Landesa’s founder, Roy Prosterman, learned it in the paddy fields of Vietnam five decades ago. In the time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders under COVID-19, that lesson has once again been put into sharp relief.

In Myanmar, Landesa is helping preserve momentum toward reform – both on the land and online – with a series of measures to protect our staff and government partners while keeping vital activities running. When a national stay-at-home order was issued in March, Landesa shifted to Work from Home and implemented the recommended sanitation and social distancing guidelines. As our own team shifted to meeting virtually, Landesa staff helped our partners in government and civil society transition to the virtual workplace as well, enabling land administration and forest department officials to use video conferencing to coordinate – in real-time – surveying, mapping, data collection, and other land reform efforts across hundreds of sites spanning hundreds of miles across often rugged terrain.


Podcast on desertification & drought

Efforts to halt desertification and drought must include women's land rights.

DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT DAY 2020 — More than one-third of the world’s arable land is currently degraded, and at least 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer the consequences — in food insecurity, malnutrition, and diminished productivity and economic opportunity — of the degradation and desertification of land.

Yet as the world’s population grows to a projected 10 billion people by 2050, pressure on the global food system & agricultural land will continue to rise. Rural women possess critical knowledge of sustainable farming and land management practices that can conserve soil and water and protect cultivable land. But too often, women are excluded from these important conversations and from decision-making on land, because of discriminatory social norms.

To mark the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought this year, Landesa’s Beth Roberts and Shipra Deo had a conversation about the barriers women face to their land rights, and why women must be able to overcome these obstacles to make progress toward global efforts to halt desertification, conserve land, and feed the world.


Climate action through land tenure security

Land rights matter - for people and the planet

In 2019 the world lost 46,000 square miles of forest – an area the size of a soccer field every six seconds, according to researchers. The destruction of these forests – which shelter a kaleidoscope of plant and animal species, offer live­lihoods for indigenous and local communities, and store vast amounts of carbon necessary to mitigate climate change – is preventable. With strong land rights, women and men across the globe can slow down deforestation and contribute to restoring forests.

Landesa published new policy recommendations detailing the ways that stronger land rights for people living in rural areas can improve climate mitigation efforts, contribute to the success of Community Forest Groups, encourage adoption of Climate Smart Agriculture, and create opportunities for women to invest in their land.


Landesa in the news

Reuters logo

OPINION: Why investing in women’s land rights helps overall gender equality
Chief Program Officer Karol Boudreaux shares three approaches to accelerate gender equality globally by supporting women’s ability to own, manage and control important assets like land.  (Reuters)

Omidyar Network India

No Woman’s Land: Navigating issues of Land & Gender
ON India highlighted Shipra Deo’s session on “#Land4Women: Gender-Based Violence and Land” during the Land and Property Inclusivity track at Charcha 2020. (ON India)

Staff Spotlight: Masalu Luhula
Masalu Luhula speaking

Title: Land Tenure Specialist
Location: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

What is your favorite part of working for Landesa? I enjoy working on responsible investment that respects human rights and adheres to international best practices while fitting individual contexts. I also like working to ensure investment puts people at its center.



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