Sustainable and Just Development in Myanmar: Land disputes in Tanintharyi Region between commercial interests, nature conservation and human well-being

Schneider, Flurina; Lundsgaard-Hansen, Lara Maria; Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin; Myint, Win; Tun, Nwe Nwe; Oberlack, Christoph; Feurer, Melanie; Nydegger, Katharina Barbara; Messerli, Peter (2019). Sustainable and Just Development in Myanmar: Land disputes in Tanintharyi Region between commercial interests, nature conservation and human well-being (Unpublished). In: Global Land Project 4th Open Science Meeting (GLP-OSM). Bern, Switzerland. 24-26 April 2019.

In the same year 2015, when the Myanmar people elected a new civil government, Myanmar representatives also endorsed the global UN 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Hence, Myanmar currently faces a double challenge: the transition from a military to a democratic government, and the evolution along a sustainable development pathway. Competition over land is at the core of many related development questions: farmers, businessmen, investors, national and international governments and NGOs compete for access to and decision-making power on the use of land. Against this background, this article unravels current land use transitions and disputes, their causes and consequences, and discusses promising transformative pathways for more sustainable and just development.

Results show that recent dynamics led to a change of subsistence and shifting cultivation based land use systems to fiercely contested land systems due to diverging interests manifested through commercial, conservation, and political activities of local, but also national and international actors. Hence, while local villagers actively engage in these activities, decisions on regional development are increasingly taken by powerful actors at places and scales beyond the local systems. However, implications for people living in the area are multifaceted. On the one hand, they stress that their wellbeing considerably improved in many aspects such as health, and food security; on the other hand, they deplore lost access to land, water and forest resources. In several cases, initial challenges could be turned into more positive outcomes through mediation and brokering activities of boundary actors. In conclusion, this analysis will reveal critical development challenges and pathways in Myanmar, as land disputes unfold between commercial interests, nature conservation and human well-being.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Schneider, Flurina, Lundsgaard-Hansen, Lara, Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin, Oberlack, Christoph, Nydegger, Katharina Barbara, Messerli, Peter


900 History > 910 Geography & travel


[420] Managing telecoupled landscapes for the sustainable provision of ecosystem services and poverty alleviation
[803] Cluster: Land Resources




Stephan Schmidt

Date Deposited:

17 Jul 2019 18:06

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:32

Related URLs:

Uncontrolled Keywords:

justice, sustainability, telecoupling, land conflicts


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