2nd MRLG Regional Consultation Workshop22nd to 24th February 2016Mercure Hotel, Vientiane, Lao PDR

As part of the MRLG planning cycle, we are committed to organize stakeholders’ consultations annually, both at the national (country level) and regional level. The first regional consultation took place in February 2015 in Bangkok. One of the important conclusions was the need to initiate regional learning and alliance building activities in three priority topics: customary tenure, large scale land acquisition (concessions), and private sector engagement. Since last year, the project team (PIU), together with key partners (FAO, AIPP, Oxfam, Mekong Institute, IPSARD, NERI) and other stakeholders have developed various short term activities to largely take stock and lay the ground work for regional exchange in each priority area.
This 2nd regional workshop was organized to present stock-taking results, provide opportunities for consulting on continuing activities, and open the space for joint action planning towards the development and strengthening of multi-stakeholder alliances around these topics for regional influence.
One of the key issues and gaps that MRLG aimed to support is the improvement of linkages between national level networks/alliances and regional ones. MRLG's goal for holding the workshop was to play a facilitation role to maximize synergies between the alliances working on customary tenure, research on large scale land acquisitions and private sector engagement in responsible land investments and Innovation Fund projects.
The MRLG 2016 Regional Consultation Workshop was planned with three priority objectives:
  • Share information about on-going MRLG initiatives, from the various activity and funding streams and receive feedback from partners working with MRLG and share ideas towards the Regional Land Forum, 23-27 May 2016.
  • Provide a working space for technical and planning discussions on the regional Learning and Alliance building activities:
    • Recognition of customary tenure
    • Evidence-based research for land scale land acquisition policy and regulation
    • Private engagement for responsible investment in agro-forestry
  • Provide a coordination opportunity between national and regional activities for ongoing implementation.

Participants invited to the workshop were those who are representing partner organizations and individuals directly involved in MRLG supported activities.

Main expected outcomes

  • A common understanding by our stakeholders of the 3 regional themes MRLG is working on, clarity on where MRLG is up to, AND where we intend to go.
  • Strengthening of regional alliances around 3 regional themes, with stronger linkages between national and regional level L&A activities and MRLG grant facility projects.
  • Proposed inputs and partner activities identified for 2017 and onwards.
  • Sensitization and preparation initiated for the Regional Land Forum.

The main regional stakeholder workshop took place on February 23 and the morning of February 24.

On February 22, smaller specific preparatory workshops were organized to present preliminary and final findings and coordinate activities within three thematic groups on the 22nd of February:
  • Recognition of customary tenure group (full day)
  • Evidence-based research for land scale land acquisition group (full day)
  • Private engagement for responsible investment group (half day)

At the conclusion of the MRLG Regional Workshop, MRLG will provide an opportunity to the land coalition NGO networks to meet again subsequent to the October meeting to discuss strategic plans for networking. New coalitions are invited to join.

The Mekong Research Land Forum RCSD (Chiang Mai University) commencing on the afternoon of the 24th February will simultaneously organise their inaugural Forum Meeting. This will continue until lunch time on 25th February.