Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management (AJEDM)

Volume 2 Number 1 (2010)

Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management 2010 2 1

doi: 10.3850/S179392402009000325

Land Tenure Security and Peacebuilding in Aceh, Indonesia

Arthur Green
Department of Geography, McGill University, 805 Sherbrooke Street West, Montréal, Québec H3A2K6, Canada.


In this article, I address whether activities meant to improve land tenure security may have supported or undermined peacebuilding during the postwar stabilization and transition period of 2005–2008. In 2005, the population of Aceh began recovery from both a 29-year separatist war and the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Property and tenure systems were severely damaged by both the war and tsunami. The primary project designed to support land tenure security during this periodwas an internationally funded and state-administered project called the Reconstruction of Aceh Land Administration System (RALAS). RALAS successfully registered land in several areas of Aceh and rebuilt much of the technical capacity of the state land administration system. Yet, the linkage of RALAS primarily to post-disaster activities meant that connections between land tenure security and postwar dynamics were often missed. As a result, actors involved in RALAS did not clearly identify or take advantage of opportunities to link land tenure security to peacebuilding. In addition, a lack of understanding of fundamental legal problems typical of postwar scenarios caused several problems for the implementation of RALAS. This article concludes with lessons learned regarding the timing, location, institutional capacities, andmethods of implementing land reform for peacebuilding.

Keywords: Tenure security, Land registration, Aceh.

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