Improving land use in Laos
Title: Land Management and Decentralised Planning 3
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI)
Overall term: 2019 to 2021
Laos plans to have shed its least-developed country status by 2024.Its high economic growth is due largely to the export of hydropower, mining, agriculture and forestry. These sectors of the economy usually offer few, low-paying jobs for native Laotians, and contribute to social inequality. Large areas of land are being deforested for plantations, resulting in rural farming households losing their access to land and other natural resources.
It is often unclear how the six different ministries responsible for land use and land management and the different levels of administration work together. In rural areas, women in particular face structural disadvantages when it comes to land-use planning. To achieve goals such as reforestation, the creation of protected areas or improved infrastructure, empirical land-use data are of central importance. The same applies to solving land-use conflicts. Although government agencies are in a much more solid position than in the past, they are still not sufficiently able to make strategic use of land-use planning instruments.
From 2015 to 2019, GIZ provided support for two procedures aimed at improving land use and enhancing tenure security in Laos. The third project, Land Management and Decentralised Planning 3 (LMDP 3), now aims to enable nationwide land registration and the issuing of land titles.
The responsible authorities in Laos are capable at all levels of using land-use planning instruments to manage natural resources and to solve and prevent conflicts over land and resources.
The strategy aims to integrate the information systems (such as the information management system comprising all existing land-use maps in Laos) and procedures (such as land-use planning) developed under the predecessor projects into the partner structures. In addition, targeted support is provided so that the partners are able to apply the procedures correctly. To achieve this, the project is working on three levels:
- In the ministries and local authorities (especially at the provincial and district levels), training courses are being held to help staff acquire technical expertise, digital skills and an understanding of procedural issues. The content of the training courses includes formats on land management and land-use planning, held in appropriate facilities. The courses also teach how to manage social and environmental risks.
- On the organisational level, the project supports efforts to apply procedures and instruments in a pilot province. In this context, it is important that the specific needs of disadvantaged groups (ethnic minorities, women, very poor households) are taken into account in activities.
- The project supports cooperation within the government apparatus in various ways, including overarching work groups which focus on analysing the lessons learned in training courses at the provincial and district levels. Policy dialogue is taking place within the donor community on issues of good governance in land use. Special attention is being paid to minimum standards for the involvement of disadvantaged groups in land-use planning.