Laos

LAO

Laos

A landlocked country of 7 million between the Mekong River and Annamite Cordillera, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR or Laos) has the lowest population density in Southeast Asia.[1] Officially, over 81% of land is classified as forest, and only 6.5% is arable land.[2] Actual natural forest cover, however, is estimated by the government at 40%, with a target to increase to 70% by 2020.[3] Some of the remaining area, considered as “damaged forest”, is sloping land used for cultivation.

Most members of the 49 recognized ethnic minority groups in Laos have traditionally subsisted from shifting (swidden) agriculture and forest products. Patterns of land use have been transformed through population displacements during and after the Indochina wars;[4] government policies to eradicate opium and swidden cultivation;[5] and relocation of hundreds of thousands of residents to new villages closer to roads and public services.[6]

The government of the Lao PDR prioritizes economic growth and poverty alleviation through “sustainable development of the nation’s rich natural capital and land,” particularly through encouraging private investment and granting concessions of state land to investors.[7] Forest, land, water, and mineral resources together make up more than half of the country’s wealth.[8] The national strategy to “turn land into capital”[9] has brought mining, hydropower, and agri-business land concessions to large areas of rural Laos, frequently turning small-scale farmers into landless laborers in the process. This represents an unprecedented transfer of land access from farmers to foreign investors.[10]

Source of the narrative

Disclaimer: The data displayed on the Land Portal is provided by third parts indicated as the data source or as the data provider. The Land Portal team is constantly working to ensure the highest possible standard of data quality and accuracy, yet the data is by its nature approximate and will contain some inaccuracies. The data may contain errors introduced by the data provider(s) and/or by the Land Portal team. In addition, this page allows you to compare data from different sources, but not all indicators are necessarily statistically comparable. The Land Portal Foundation (A) expressly disclaims the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any data and (B) shall not be liable for any errors, omissions or other defects in, delays or interruptions in such data, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Neither the Land Portal Foundation nor any of its data providers will be liable for any damages relating to your use of the data provided herein.

Indicators

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Infographics

Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF)

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    Legend
    • Very Good Practice
    • Good Practice
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    • Very Weak Practice
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    Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure

    Legend: National laws adoption of the VGGT principle
    • Fully adopt
    • Partially adopt
    • Not adopted
    • Missing Value

    Note: The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (The VGGTs) were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in 2012.

    The "VGGT indicators" dataset has been created by Nicholas K. Tagliarino, PhD Candidate at the University of Groningen, with support from Daniel Babare and Myat Noe (LLB Students, University of Groningen). The indicators assess national laws in 50 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America against international standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement as established by Section 16 of the VGGTs.

    Each indicator relates to a principle established in section 16 of the VGGTs. Hold the mouse against the small "i" button above for a more detailed explanation of the indicator.

    Answering the questions posed by these indicators entails analyzing a broad range of national-level laws, including national constitutions, land acquisition acts, land acts, community land acts, agricultural land acts, land use regulations, and some court decisions.

    Media

    Latest News

    3 April 2017
    Cambodia
    China
    Laos
    Myanmar
    Thailand
    Vietnam

    The Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development and the Mekong Land Research Forum will run a week-long intensive summer school on land research in the Mekong Region. The purpose of the summer school is to equip early-career academic and advocacy-oriented researchers with key concepts, access to existing research outputs, and knowledge of current land issues across the region in order to strengthen individual and networked research that is geared towards secure access to land amongst the region’s rural and urban poor.

    Laos

    By: Alisa Tang
    Date: August 31st 2016
    Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

    BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Activists have called on U.S. President Barack Obama to press Laos on its human rights record on issues such as illegal land concessions and forced evictions, when he visits the Communist country next week.

    Obama is due to attend a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the capital Vientiane, becoming the first U.S. president to visit Laos.

    Brunei Darussalam
    Cambodia
    Indonesia
    Laos
    Malaysia
    Myanmar
    Philippines
    Singapore
    Thailand
    Vietnam

    By: Ron Corben & Bryan Lynn
    Date: August 1st 2016
    Source: VOA

    An international human rights organization says Southeast Asia is facing increasing conflicts and violence over land grab activity. A “land grab” relates to taking land quickly, forcefully and often illegally.

    Latest Blog

    Local shops provided rural households with an alternative source of income and became part of farmers’ coping strategy to sustain their livelihoods in the aftermath of land dispossession.  Photo Credit: Diana Suhardiman/IWMI.
    Global
    Laos

    By Diana Suhardiman and Emily Koo

    Laos has conceded a significant amount of land to foreign investors, with estimates placing 15% of the country’s land under foreign control. Such land concessions, or the granting of rights to land, are positioned by the government as critical to economic growth and poverty reduction.

    Latest Events

    26 February 2017 to 28 February 2017

    Location

    Best Western Green Hill Yangon
    Myanmar
    MM
    South-Eastern Asia
    Cambodia
    Laos
    Myanmar
    Thailand
    Vietnam

    Over the last 30 years, the nation states in the Mekong region have taken steps to reform their land policy to facilitate the efforts to end poverty, create wealth and grow their economies. To do this most effectively in this modern age requires the leveraging of technical innovations and data.

    First Mekong Region Land Forum, Hanoi, 21 to 23 June 2016
    21 June 2016 to 23 June 2016

    Location

    Hanoi
    Vietnam
    VN
    Cambodia
    Laos
    Myanmar
    Vietnam

    MRLG, GIZ and IPSARD are pleased to announce that they will organize the first Mekong Region Land Forum in Hanoi, on 21st to 23rd of June

    Debate

    13 February 2017 to 27 February 2017
    Closed
    Facilitators
    Natalia Scurrah
    Terry Parnell
    n.sorensen
    Cambodia
    Laos
    Myanmar
    Thailand
    Vietnam

    From 13-27 February 2017, the Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project and the Land Portal co-facilitated an online dialogue on the Recognition of Customary Tenure in the Mekong Region.

    Partners

    Open Development Laos

    ODL

    Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific

    CIRDAP

    Village Focus International

    VFI

    Land Observatory

    Focus on the Global South

    Center for Lao Studies

    CLS

    Plan International CIDSE-Laos

    Mekong Land Research Forum

    Library

    Displaying 1 - 6 of 664
    Peer-reviewed publication
    March 2013

    Future forest cover changes were simulated under the business-as-usual (BAU), pessimistic and optimistic scenarios using the Markov-cellular automata (MCA) model in Pakxeng district, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). The Markov chain analysis was used to compute transition probabilities from satellite-derived forest cover maps (1993, 1996, 2000 and 2004), while the “weights of evidence” procedure was used to generate transition potential (suitability) maps.

    Peer-reviewed publication
    October 2014

    The rapid economic growth in Lao PDR over the last two decades has been driven by the natural resource sectors and commercialization in the agriculture sector. Rural landscapes are being transformed over the past decade from land use mosaics of subsistence and smallholder farms to large-scale plantations dominated by a few commercial crops.

    Peer-reviewed publication
    July 2015

    Over the last decade considerable research has been conducted on the development and the impacts of large-scale economic land concessions for plantations in Laos and Cambodia. These studies have variously illustrated that concessions frequently result in serious negative impacts on local people and the environment, often leading to dramatic transformations of landscapes and livelihoods. As important as this research has been, these studies have largely focused on the immediate impacts of the “enclosure” process associated with gaining access to land by investors.

    Peer-reviewed publication
    March 2015

    The aim of this paper is to explore possible links between forest cover change and characteristics of social-ecological systems at sub-national scale based mainly on census data. We assessed relationships between population density, poverty, ethnicity, accessibility and forest cover change during the last decade for four regions of Bolivia and the Lao PDR, combining a parcel-based with a cell-based approach.

    Peer-reviewed publication
    July 2016

    Land-titling programs, land and forest allocation programs, and projects on state-allocated land for development and investment in Laos have been key drivers of change in land tenure. These have triggered major shifts in land use rights, from customary, to temporary, and then to permanent land use rights. This article explores how government programs to grant land use rights to individual households have affected the way people have been able to acquire and secure land tenure.

    Peer-reviewed publication
    March 2017

    Over the last decade, there have been considerable concerns raised regarding the social and environmental impacts of large-scale land concessions for plantation development in various parts of the world, especially in the tropics, including in Laos and Cambodia. However, there is still much to learn about the various connections and interactions associated with reactions to what are often referred to as “land grabs”, and the ways they are associated or not associated with broader social movements and networks opposed to land grabbing.