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

Online system to connect sectors to land concession data

Vientiane Times, 9 June 2014

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Natural Resources and Environment Information Centre (NREIC) has completed trials of a system for sending and exchanging data through an online spatial database. The centre is training central-level staff from the ministry and other related ministries to become trainers themselves, aiming to expand the system throughout the country by the end of 2014.

“We have successfully completed trials of the approach toward improving data on state land leases and concessions using an online system,” Acting Director of the NREIC Dr Bounkeua Vongsalat said at the closing training session at the NREIC office in Vientiane recently.

“This is a step forward for responding to policies of industrialisation and modernisation, as well as carrying out the work of sam sang [the three builds directive]. That NREIC is capable of using an online system is incredibly useful,” he said. “We should see that it expands to all relevant departments for cooperative use, which is why the training is being held.”

Since 1990, Laos has approved over 2,000 state land leases and concession investment projects in every sector and region of the country. The government has decentralised management of concessions to the local level and among many different divisions, which makes it difficult to exchange information among relevant departments. This led to data that was not unified and was difficult and expensive to update.

State land lease and concession data improvement will help connect government sectors at local and central levels through an online system. The govern ment’s goal is to maximise the sector’s contribution to socio-economic development and boost incomes in Laos by creating more job opportunities. “The online system has been developed by combining geospatial and database programs that define the user and the rights that each group has. These include the right to install the program in the computer and the server and to send data through the internet system,” Head of the information, research and statistics division and project manager Mr Ekvinay Sayaraj told Vientiane Times .

“Other departments cannot enter the system, which increases its security. We have first tested the approach in Borikhamxay province and after the training we will install it in Luang Namtha, Xayaboury, Luang Prabang, and Attapeu provinces. In order to expand to other provinces we are still looking for financial support.” The online system is a step toward having data that is clear, complete and efficient and that can be analysed correctly to inform development policy more appropriately than before.

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