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Research Report

Connected and changing:: An open data web platform to track land conflict in Myanmar

Catriona Knapman
Wai Wai Lwin
Copyright Date: Dec. 1, 2016
Pages: 20
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep02692
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-2)

    Land disputes are a key concern for rural development in Myanmar, despite the recent political changes. Land governance in Myanmar remains steeped in the problems inherited from previous administrations. These include disputes driven by land grabs and large scale land acquisitions by military, companies and the state. Since 2010, political change is also bringing more business investment to Myanmar, due to both interest from foreign investors and government policies which encourage economic growth through large scale business.

    Historic power dynamics continue to play out across the country and need to be understood when addressing contemporary land conflicts (Woods, 2014). Three...

  2. (pp. 3-4)

    Data Gathering: ODM identifies land conflicts in its target regions based on a number of secondary sources, notably reports from The Land Allotment and Utilisation Scrutiny Committee³ and from lawyers and local NGOs. ODM then visits the communities where conflicts have been reported to further investigate and compile data on the conflict and its impacts. Data is collected by ODM staff who are usually either lawyers, activists or researchers with a good knowledge of local land dynamics. In each conflict area a survey is conducted to gather quantitative data on land, gender, the history of land occupation and confiscation, and...

  3. (pp. 5-6)

    ODM has had a number of key achievements so far. The database has for the first time brought together data from different sources in the country. Until now this has been challenging due to the severe lack of trust between different stakeholders and very little transparency and sharing of data even between stakeholders of the same type such as CSOs and government departments. The database currently displays data from 800 cases, affecting 4,000 people in Taninthayri and Ayerwaddy Divisions, collected during its first year of operation. The development of a website of this type in Myanmar is also a significant...

  4. (pp. 7-7)

    ODM is still in its initial phases of implementation and has a number of key plans moving forward. In 2016, it plans to develop more visual graphics of the currently available data including maps and graphs to help communicate the information collated to target audiences. The use of colour coding will help reflect the intensity of land grabbing by geographic regions. It will also display both ongoing and finished cases to present current and historic information on land disputes. ODM is also undertaking an analysis of cases from different thematic entry points for example, illegal processes, and will develop data...

  5. (pp. 8-8)

    ODM suggest that building a relationship with key contacts in the communities where data is collected has been of primary importance in developing the tool, as this has facilitated access to accurate household level data and local government township data. These contacts include Village Heads, local activists, local MPs, local members of political parties and other members of affected villages. These relationships facilitate the local level research and mediation work and are important for the development of trust between local communities and initiatives such as ODM over the long term. Working with a lawyer who is an expert in land...