Working towards greater community control over land, forests and natural resources

LIWG Supports Development of the Lao National Land Policy

LIWG, 23 May 2014

The long term LIWG work in supporting the development of the Lao National Land Policy (NLP) has continued over the past months, in cooperation with partners and stakeholders. Through extensive analysis, consultation, and research into international best practice, the LIWG has further developed its recommendations to the NLP, with the aim of enhancing utilization of land for the economic, social, cultural and spiritual advancement of the people of Laos. The NLP Handout (Eng/Lao) gives an easy-to-approach summary of our Key Recommendations.

Our main recommendation is:

Land ownership or use rights can only be revoked with the consent of the right holders; except for purposes that directly and primarily benefit the general public, and provided that the affected parties receive full, fair, and prior compensation. This applies to individually and communally held land, be it land held under customary ownership or with formal title. Private purpose land use transfers on communal land shall only be implemented if agreed upon by consent of a minimum two-thirds majority of all affected land use rights holders.

In addition, an agency should be assigned or established with the responsibility to receive and resolve grievances related to land conflicts and the authority to enforce implementation of the resolutions and relevant laws. To reduce the potential for conflicts of interest we suggest that this agency be placed under the National Assembly.

The Full Policy Recommendations, developed in 2013 and available in English and in Lao, can be found here. For more details and rationale on the recommended policy wordings please see the below accompanying documents:

Expropriation – Examples of Constitutional Provisions and Laws from Various Countries.
Customary Land Tenure – Examples of Laws from Various Countries.
Standard of Public Purpose – Rationale for Laos and International Examples.
Criterion for Consent – Rationale and International Examples of two-thirds Majority Vote Requirement.
Grievance Mechanisms – Rationale for Laos and Cases from Other Countries.

 

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