Land tenure and water rights in Thailand and Vietnam : challenges for ethnic minorities in mountainous forest regions
Ethnie minorities in the mountainous forest regions of northern Thailand and northern Vietnam live in a particularly restrictive political, social and economic environment. Widespread degradation of land, water and forest resources has adverse effects on the livelihoods of these groups. Given the dramatically increasing scarcity of natural resources, regulation of resource access and allocation are becoming fundamental for the development of sustainable resource management, in which an active participation of the local population in planning and implementation is a crucial prerequisite. In this article, the political and institutional framework of current resource policies and resulting conflicts are discussed for the two countries. Drawing on various case studies, typical land and water tenure conflicts are presented and their impact on the protection and use of natural resources and on the livelihoods of ethnie minorities is analyzed.