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]

Indicators

Land area is the total area (1'000 Ha) of the country excluding area under inland water bodies.

Measurement unit
1'000 Ha

Total population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country

Measurement unit
Number

Rural population refers to the share (%) of people living in rural areas as defined by national statistical offices. It is calculated as the ratio between Urban Population and Total Population.

Measurement unit
Percentage

Total spending for agricultural reserch measured measured as a share of the value added from agriculture, forestry and fishing activities

Measurement unit
Percentage

Distribution of agricultural holders by sex (female - Share %) according to the FAO Land and Gender Database.

Measurement unit
Percentage

GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP). PPP GDP is gross domestic product converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates.

Measurement unit
PPP$ 2011

Total funding for programmes still ongoing in January 2016 (US $).

Measurement unit
US$ (Current)

Total number of programmes still ongoing in January 2016

Measurement unit
Number

Mapping

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Total population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country

Compare countries

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Total population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country

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Land area is the total area (1'000 Ha) of the country excluding area under inland water bodies.

Arable land (1'000 Ha) is the land under temporary agricultural crops (multiple-cropped areas are counted only once), temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens

Measurement unit
1'000 Ha

It measures the area (1'000 Ha) covered by forest.

Measurement unit
1'000 Ha

Permanent crops (1'000 Ha) - land cultivated with long-term crops which do not have to be replanted for several years (such as cocoa and coffee); land under trees and shrubs producing flowers, such

Measurement unit
1000 Ha

Permanent meadows and pastures - land used permanently (five years or more) to grow herbaceous forage crops, either cultivated or growing wild (wild prairie or grazing land).

Measurement unit
1000 Ha

Infographics

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.

Disclaimer: The data displayed on the Land Portal is provided by third parties 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.

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

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

Discussion Report

 

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.

Background

Organizations

Library

Displaying 1 - 6 of 779
Peer-reviewed publication
July 2017
Laos

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) has been experiencing significant forest depletion since the 1980s, but there is little evidence to demonstrate the major causes and underlying drivers for the forest cover changes. In this study, we investigated the relationship between forest cover decrease and increase in the south of Lao PDR between 2006 and 2012 and selected physical and socio-economic factors.

After the Boom Thematic Study cover image
Reports & Research
May 2017
Laos

Rubber prices in northern Laos have fallen significantly over the last few years, eroding much of the initial enthusiasm of both farmers and government officials about rubber providing a way out of poverty for poor upland farmers. This thematic study examines responses to this price drop by Lao rubber growers and state institutions in northern Laos. It also examines the reasons that prices are what they are, given that price volatility was identified as a risk during the mid-2000s, and that in at least some cases, steps were taken to protect contract farmers from falling prices.

CIAT in Asia cover image
Institutional & promotional materials
April 2017
Asia
China
Cambodia
Laos
Myanmar
Philippines
Vietnam
Southern Asia
Bangladesh
Bhutan
Nepal

With more than 60 percent of Asian population either directly or indirectly relying on agriculture for livelihood, agriculture remains key to uplifting lives of many people in the region, as well as to providing sufficient and nutritious food for all.

In Asia, CIAT undertakes scientific research enabling smallholder farmers, agri-food businesses, and national governments to use smart technologies and innovations and make evidence-based decisions, towards achieving profitability, environmental sustainability and resiliency in agriculture.

Reports & Research
April 2017
Cambodia
Laos
Myanmar
Thailand
Vietnam

This dialogue provided a way for the land community to collaboratively explore challenges and opportunities related to the recognition of indigenous, ethnic minority and customary tenure rights in the Mekong region in order to:

Peer-reviewed publication
March 2017
Laos
Cambodia

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.

Manuals & Guidelines
January 2017
Global
Laos

FAO published its Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT) of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security in 2012. The purpose of these guidelines is to serve as reference and to provide guidance to improve the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forest with the overarching goal of achieving food security for all and to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security. The guidelines were translated into Lao and published in 2013.