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The analysis identified how variations in the development environments have shaped human security. The most notable finding was that basic needs (i.e. housing, income, food security, and protection from life threats) do not benefit from land tenure reform. This contradicts the neoliberal approach to land tenure reform that proposes technical innovations, such as the implementation of a title registry, will help to create an enabling environment for economic growth and poverty alleviation. Instead of creating an enabling environment, the results of the human security analysis provide evidence that some components of land tenure reform underway in Cambodia are conflicting with the unique and contextually defined needs of Cambodian society.
People's sense of the future also appears to have been negatively affected by a high exposure to land tenure reform. This lack of optimism has nullified any acceptance of past injustices and resulted in a weak relationship with time overall. Hence, when people who have had a high exposure to land tenure reform evaluate the full scope of their lives, they are more likely to be disappointed than anticipatory.
Strengthened relationship with place
One aspect of human security that does benefit from land tenure reform is people's relationship with their location, particularly their sense of tenure security and mobility. These aspects of human security appear to strengthen following a high exposure to land tenure reforms, especially where there has been a high exposure to conflict.
Mixed results for relationship with community
People's relationship with their community also appears to be stronger where exposure to land tenure reform has been high, particularly their sense of identity. However, the ability of tenure reform to strengthen people's relationship with their community is not affected by exposure to past conflict. Hence, land tenure reforms may benefit communities generally, but are not necessarily justified as a direct response to post-conflict community development.
How does land tenure help to shape post-conflict human security?
The contextual analysis revealed a wide range of information about how exposure to land tenure reform and conflict have shaped human security in rural Cambodia, and resulted in variations in human well-being. Combining the results of the contextual and human security analyses helped to explain the specific consequences of introducing land tenure reforms in a post-conflict environment. In particular, insight was gained into how and why land tenure reform diminishes, strengthens, or does not discernibly affect human security. This raised several concerns about how land tenure reforms are being applied at the village-level in rural Cambodia.
Conflicting social norms
Villagers remain unwilling to interact with officials other than village or commune chiefs. This seems to have undermined many of the benefits of the new tenure regime, including some aspects of tenure security. This can be attributed to the hierarchical power structure that continues to prevent villagers from accessing more senior officials above the commune chief, as well as a general fear that these officials may wish to extort money for their services. One consequence of this has been that rural villagers are not communicating land transactions to the officials responsible for updating the cadastre. Hence, any improvements to human security resulting specifically from title registration are unlikely to be sustained as the cadastre continues to become outdated.
The threat from rising levels of debt
Another concern is that tenure reforms have resulted in excessive amounts of debt among rural villagers. Although most villagers claim that land tenure reform is beneficial to their tenure security overall, the threat of defaulting on a loan continues to be an important source of insecurity. Furthermore, villagers who had a low exposure to land tenure reform reported having sufficient access to credit, and were not concerned about losing their land in the event they were unable to repay their loans.
In general, the level of exposure to conflict appears to have had a greater impact than land tenure reform on how people responded to questions about their current level of human security and about development generally. Villagers who have experienced a high exposure to conflict continue to live under the worst conditions, but are significantly more satisfied with the security they have gained in recent years. In contrast to the effects from exposure to conflict, people's outlook for the future did not improve significantly following a high exposure to land tenure reform.
Villagers who have experienced a high exposure to land tenure reform did demonstrate an improved relationship with their location and community. Overall, these improvements were substantial enough to result in a greater level of human security compared with villagers who have had only a low exposure to tenure reform. However, the results of the human security analysis clearly show that land tenure reform does not have a direct affect on most factors contributing to human security. This may be attributed to the belief among villagers that the economic benefits of title registration are not meeting expectations. Hence, as the effects of exposure to conflict continue to diminish over time, people may become increasingly dissatisfied with the outcomes of land tenure reform.