INTRODUCTION: Over the last 30 years, the context of development in Cambodian has undergone dramatic changes. A succession of deep transformations, characterized by a complete restructuring of institutional and socio-economic environment, has resulted in a singular situation. Cambodian society remains largely agrarian, with land being the corner stone of the production system for a large majority of the population. To address a growing food demand of an increasing rural and urban population1, the agrarian systems are being transformed by the intensification of the livestock and cropping systems as well as by the territorial expansion onto the forest areas. The urbanization and industrialization of the economy are additionally becoming key drivers for the development of the country. All these intertwined processes are leading to dramatic land use changes within a more and more competitive environment of access to land. Cambodia has also embarked in a comprehensive “Decentralization and De-concentration” reform process aiming at a redistribution of power and functions from central to sub-national levels. Land and natural resources management planning is amongst the new prerogatives of elected councils at province, municipal, district and commune levels. Yet, the mechanisms and responsibilities for devolved spatial planning are yet to be translated into sound procedures and practices. The paper is aimed as a contribution to fill in this vacuum. Building on the debate about notions of scale and governance, the paper presents the institutional foundations of the spatial planning system that is being designed in Battambang province, Cambodia. It addresses some conceptual issues of scales to be considered in spatial planning. The overall planning approach and procedures are further discussed with specific reference on multi-stakeholders participation and spatial analysis using a combination of GIS-RS and perception-based mapping techniques. The paper reviews how the principle of countervailing influence is applied to produce a provincial spatial planning policy framework, district spatial master plans and legally-binding commune land use plans
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