to support land administration, the allocation of titles in Lao PDR
Vientiane, September 4, 2021 – Landowners in Lao PDR, including some of the most vulnerable households, are expected to benefit from improved administration and title deeds thanks to a project approved by the World Bank this week.
The $ 31 million Systematic Land Registration Improvement Project will be managed by the government’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment over the next five years. Its objective is to modernize land administration and intensify land registration to support the country’s goal of extending the benefits of recognized land rights to a larger portion of the Lao population.
“Ordinary people want to know that their rights to land are secure, and that is why this project responds to a real need” noted World Bank Country Director for Lao PDR Alex Kremer. “Transparent and fair land rights increase harmony in society, reduce conflict and give people the confidence to invest.
Land use rights are enshrined in Lao law and the Lao Constitution. The land law adopted in 2020 recognizes the rights of individuals, customary land users, legal entities and communities to own and use land. However, out of around 3.5 million plots of land in Lao PDR, only around 1.5 million plots have been registered and titled, and these are mostly located in cities. The government has set a target of releasing an additional 1.2 million titles by 2025, but faces various challenges. The authorities needed considerable additional resources to scale up land registration activities and reduce the costs of issuing titles, a procedure that is currently too expensive for many landowners.
The new project will invest in modernizing land administration by speeding up services, digitizing procedures and using technology to record and maintain land information. It will also improve the capacity of authorities to maintain land registration and administration services over the long term and to protect land registers against fires or floods.
The project will build on the work of two previous Laotians funded by the World Bank title deed projects which lasted from 1996 to 2009 and issued over half a million land titles. In addition to increasing the number of land use certificates issued, the project announced today will create and expand maps that show all land holdings across the country, and support further development of land policies and regulations.
Co-financing of more than $ 6.3 million for the project comes from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, which will support activities such as land registration, increased engagement with the public, handling of claims and improving service delivery. In addition, the German Development Bank KfW provides parallel funding of € 7 million via a grant to speed up land registration in four northern provinces, Xieng Khouang, Houaphan, Oudomxay and Xayaboury, through a land management project.