Vientiane Times, Sept 6, 2012.
Appropriate land management in Luang Namtha, Xayaboury and Attapeu provinces is crucially important for Laos to move off the UN’s list of least developed countries by 2020. That is the opinion of Ministry of Planning and Investment officials, who are meeting in Vientiane on September 5-6 to set up a 2012-2013 plan for Land Management and Rural Economic Development (LM-RED).
LM-RED is a cooperative project between the Lao government and the German Agency for International Development (GIZ). It aims to apply cross-department strategies for poverty orientated rural development, by supporting the relevant government stakeholders at the national and sub-national levels. The rural population in Laos, especially in the three provinces of Luang Namtha, Xayaboury and Attapeu, will benefit from the programme. “The LM-RED programme will contribute to the nationwide socio-economic development plan, focusing on rural development and solving poverty,” said Acting Director General of the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ms Sisomboun Ounavong. Ms Sisomboun added that socio-economic development and poverty eradication efforts will focus on land registration in rural areas, and improving economic development plans and rural economic development by focusing on reducing poverty. Attending the meeting are officials from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and from Luang Namtha, Xayaboury and Attapeu provinces, as well as experts in the field. The outcome of the meeting should be a plan and budget for activities in 2012-2013. The LM-RED programme supports building the competency and capacity of land management and land use planning departments within the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Officials and staff at both national and regional levels will be addressed on all aspects of the systematic registration of private, common and state-owned land areas. Land registration entails land use planning, adjudication, surveying, titling, awareness of legal rights and land conflict management. A new and efficient survey and registration technology will be introduced and advisory services provided to adapt existing technical frameworks and regulations to the new technology. To strengthen the Department of Planning of the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s capacity, LM-RED aims to put together a five year development plan to set national guidelines. Sustainable development planning will be based on land use data and existing land zoning frameworks for protected areas. Data analysis, mapping and socio-economic development plans will provide the basis for promoting sustainable investment in the provinces.