Theme 1 – Governance and legal frameworks to promote sustainable landscapes


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Language: English

Author: CIFOR

The landscapes of Southeast Asia have been transformed and shaped over centuries by land and resource-use by smallholders; historical patterns of maritime trade; recent large-scale land-based investments; and the complex and often overlapping interactions of state, private and civil society actors and institutions linking higher levels of social and political organization (Reid 1988-93; Kathirithamby-Wells 2005). The pace of landscape change has accelerated in recent years and local communities are increasingly connected to global networks and influences (Rigg and Nattapoolwat 2001). This has been matched by the growing complexity of ‘multilevel governance’ as new global, regional, national and subnational institutions emerge, associated with processes of globalization and decentralization; and new transnational regulatory and market-based mechanisms are introduced by regional, state and non-state actors (Mwangi and Wardell 2012). These changes have created opportunities to learn and address local, national and trans-boundary problems, but may also introduce pressures and risks. Decentralization and regional autonomy have meant that subnational authorities often have far-reaching powers to design legal and institutional frameworks for investment, and a lot of latitude in allocating land for commercial purposes. Altering the scale, and the style of governance has inevitable consequences for power structures, institutions, livelihoods and physical landscapes (Batterbury and Fernando 2006). The critical role of civil society organizations and the social media have helped to increase consumer awareness and have led to growing demands for accountability by governments.