Workshop calls for increase in responsible land investment
- An article in the Myanmar Times by Su Phyo Win on Friday 10 July looked at a workshop at which I spoke on Land Acquisition, Investment and Human Rights.
Against the backdrop of increasing scrutiny of private sector land investments worldwide, responsible land investment has been a hot topic in Myanmar, as the sixth draft of the National Land Use Policy is due to be finalised later this year.
Investors should be aware of the historical context, and not assume that if they buy land from the government it’s the end of the story, said speakers at a workshop on responsible land investments, held by HamsaHub at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) earlier this month.
It is important to carry out enhanced due diligence when investing in land, according to a presentation by the Pyoe Pin social program. Investors shouldn’t assume that a legal title – or lack thereof – paints the entire picture, and should make additional inquiries, even when buying land from the government.
“In addition to the documents, the purpose of a piece of land over time can be used to determine who it belongs to,” said Sue Mark, one of the speakers at the event. It is also important to understand the domestic laws and to apply international standards where there are gaps, said the Pyoe Pin presentation.
There are currently 34 laws relating to land, said Daniel Aguirre, international legal advisor for Myanmar for the International Commission of Jurists. “There are no detailed procedures for land acquisition, compensation, resettlement or livelihood restoration, or for objections and compensation,” he said, adding that there is a lack of transparency and consistency in the laws.