Engaged Scholarship in the Asia Pacific

CFP: Land and Water Governance and Minority Peoples in the Asia Pacific

Call for Papers is open for Webinar Series: Natural Resource Policy, Culture and Law: Land and Water Governance and Minority Peoples in the Asia Pacific from February 24-March 17, 2022. Deadline: November 30, 2021

This symposium will examine issues involving the land and water governance and the relationships among minority and Indigenous groups, their traditional lands, natural resource management and the larger society. As Indigenous, minority and cultural rights have become an increasingly important part of human rights discourse, historical justice and reconciliation; the governance and forms of Indigenous lands and sea tenures and uses around the Asia Pacific have become a particularly salient issue. International instruments such as Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Article 27 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights have extended the right of culture to include rights to land. The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples makes these possessory and use rights explicit. 

The task of legal recognition and governance of Indigenous/minority interests in land and waters is complicated by the plural legal, cultural and social environment. In this environment the state administration of natural resources and land use policies, as well as numerous local cultures and complicated forms of local forms of legal possession, occupancy and use rights interact. New Zealand, for example had six different forms of trust to manage Maori land besides various rights established by Foreshore and Sea legislation and treaty settlements. Australian Aboriginal legal possessory and use interests, which exist in a variety of legal forms, extend across inland water, the foreshore and land. These forms of tenure and use rights are an additional category of legal rights to land and waters that exist alongside other forms of tenure and use rights within the state.

Land and water governance implicate fundamental cultural, human rights, and constitutional values because it concerns the relationship of Indigenous/minority entities and individuals to their own traditions as well as their relationship to public authority and constitutional authority of the larger state. In addition, the forms of tenure and use rights involve a high level of specificity. The particular aspects of the historic occupation and use of lands and waters, and the unique characteristics of the Indigenous/minority interaction with the dominant society are important components of various tenure and use systems.  Within this fact specific inquiry, generalization is often difficult. 

This symposium seeks to investigate the complexities of Indigenous land and water governance in various Asia-Pacific states. This governance, whether based on state law and regulation, customary law and/or a combination of the two systems blending traditional knowledge and western positivist approaches, is a point of contestation among various levels of state jurisdiction and minority/indigenous groups. The symposium will attempt to formulate some generalised principles and or institutional innovations by which states and Indigenous/minority groups can together recognise and entrench various approaches to land governance and rights to land and waters with concern for the unique circumstances of Indigenous/minority-state interaction. Participants will be invited to discuss land governance comparatively or within a particular jurisdiction with the objective of publishing their presentation in an edited volume. 

This symposium builds of the 2020 Series 10-part Webinar Series: “Indigenous Peoples, Heritage and Landscape in the Asia Pacific” undertaken by the Science and Technology Innovation Center for Taiwan-Philippines Indigenous Knowledge, Local Knowledge, and Sustainable Studies (CTPILS), National Chengchi University, Taiwan; UCLA Department of Anthropology, USA; UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies; UCLA Asia Pacific Center; University of New England First Peoples First Peoples Rights and Law Centre (FPRLC), Australia; Auckland University of Technology Centre for Indigenous Rights and Law. We have added the University of Toyama, Toyama, Japan as a partner this year. The website for the symposium is Engaged Scholarship in the Asia Pacific – Community Engaged Research.

Please submit an abstract of your topic with your affiliation to Professor Guy Charlton (gcharlt3@une.edu.au) or Professor Stephen Acabado (acabado@ucla.edu) by November 30, 2021. Consideration with be given to Graduate Students in the area to have an opportunity to present and publish their research.  The papers will be considered for the edited volume based on the symposium.