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

Posts Tagged ‘Land Sub-sector Working Group’

No concessions without consent, working group says

Vientiane Times, 4 November 2014
The national land regulations, including the National Land Policy and Land Law must be explicit in regulating and how and when land can be expropriated and it should be only made possible for public purposes.
 The statement was one of the key messages the Land Sub-sector Working Group (LSSWG) conveyed to the National Resources and Environment Sector Working Group (NRESWG) during preparations for the upcoming Round Table Implementation Meeting to be held in Vientiane this month.
The message was disseminated at the sector working group held yesterday in Vientiane, where Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Ms Bounkham Vorachit, Country Manager of the World Bank Ms Sally Birmingham and Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Laos Michael Grau were in attendance. The LSSWG gave the recommendation concerning the land tenure security for Lao citizens and protection of the investments made in the country.
 Land issues have been longstanding in Laos for many years, while the National Land Policy which the government has been drafting for years was not approved despite having been brought for discussion at sector working group meetings and tabled at the National Assembly on numerous occasions.
Land concessions and the compensation paid to those who lose their land were the most frequently raised land issues with the public expressing its opinion that compensation should be paid at market rates.
 As the result of its work presented at the meeting held on October 14, the land issues sub-sector working group strongly recommended that legislation must make clear that land ownership or land use rights can only be revoked with the free, prior, and informed consent of the affected land rights holders.
 However, an exemption will be made for land resumptions that directly and primarily benefit the general public and provided that the affected parties receive, full, fair, and prior compensation.In addition, this must be applied to both individually and communally held land, be it land under customary ownership or with a formal title.
 Private purpose land use transfers on communal lands shall only be implemented if agreed upon by consent of a minimum of two-thirds (but ideally 80 percent) majority of all affected land use rights holders.
 The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has been assigned as the government’s secretariat on natural resources and the environment and thereby oversees the NRESWG under the government round table meeting process. At the meeting yesterday, NRESWG joined with development partners to review the draft vision towards 2030 for the natural resources and environment sector and the plan for the period from 2016 to 2020 before submitting them to the round table process and incorporation into the National Socio-Economic Plan for the next five years.
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