Is the government of Laos committed to shifting its land policy to enable greater local control? This story suggests that it is. The President of the National Assembly’s Committee on Economic Planning and Finance, Dr. Souvanhpheng Bouphanouvong, is quoted as saying: “For over a year, Lao has been undergoing a process of reviewing and revising various policies and legislation pertaining to land and natural resources. What we’ve learned from countries across the world is that by ensuring local peoples’ rights to the land they live and work on, we are opening the door for numerous other benefits for our country.” (emphasis added). Shifting meaningful control of resources and many of the benefits that derive from their use to local communities follows best practice, particularly when coupled with efforts to build the capacity of these communities. Here’s a link to a USAID-sponsored study that discuss the need for stronger local involvement in resource management in Laos. And for more information on land issues in the country see here.
September 4, 2012