Working towards greater community control over land, forests and natural resources
(ກຸ່ມເຮັດວຽກກ່ຽ່ວກັບບັນຫາການນຳໃຊ້ທີ່ດິນ) ແນ່ໃສ່ສົ່ງເສີ່ມ ຄວາມເຂົ້າໃຈ ແລະຄວາມຮູ້ທ່ວງທັນ ໃນດ້ານ ເສດຖະກິດສັງຄົມ ສິງແວດລອມ ທີ່ກ່ຽວຂອງກັບການນຳໃຊ້ເນື້ອທີ່ດິນ ໃນໂຄງການ ຕ່າງໆ, ໂດຍການເກັບກຳ ແລະ ແຜ່ກະຈາຍ ຂໍ້ມູນ ຂ່າວສານ, ການຊຸກຍູ້ການສົນທະນາປຶກສາຫາລື ແລະ ການຄົ້ນຄວ້າວິໃຈ

Govt, stakeholders raise awareness of corporate social responsibility

Vientiane Times, November 10, 2015.

Laos readies for forest law enforcement with EU

Vientiane Times, November 6, 2015.

The government is preparing to negotiate the first round of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) in the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan for illegal logging prevention and to increase the value of wood exports . The negotiations are expected to start at the beginning of next year when Laos is ready for every stage of the first round, the Forestry Inspection Department Director General, Mr. Khamphouth Phandanouvong, told Vientiane Times yesterday.

Don Sahong dam critical for development of southern Laos

Vientiane Times, November 3, 2015.

Xayaboury bans further investment in banana farms

Vientiane Times, October 22, 2015.

Xayaboury province will impose restrictions on banana farms following reports which suggested that farms in several provinces had used harmful chemicals which leaked into the soil and threatened local livelihoods. Governor of the northwestern province, Mr Phongsavanh Sitthavong, recently informed the media that Xayaboury would allow only companies that had already been granted a concession to plant bananas on approved areas. New investments or the expansion of existing plantations will not be allowed.

In recent months, the provincial authorities have given the green light to three companies – two based in China and one in Laos – to establish banana farms on hundreds of hectares.
The approval came after Luang Namtha, Oudomxay and Bokeo provinces banned the expansion of existing banana farms and new investments following reports of chemical threats to nearby communities.
The governor said the land allocated to the three companies was far away from rice fields and any chemicals used on the banana crop would not leach into farmland owned by local people.
“They [the investors] are also not allowed to plant bananas along rivers,” he said.
The governor spoke to local media while attending a three-day biannual meeting in Vientiane between the government cabinet, Vientiane Mayor and provincial governors. So far, farm owners have planted bananas on more than 300 hectares, which fall within the approved area.
In light of the reported chemical threats, the governor said officials were told to pay close attention to the operation of these new plantations to ensure they are managed in line with acceptable safety standards.
Chinese firms have invested in banana farms in several provinces, mainly Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Bokeo and Xayaboury. Bananas have been planted on 11,000 hectares in Bokeo. Meanwhile, Oudomxay has planted around 4,000 hectares and almost 1,000 hectares have been planted out in Luang Namtha. The crop has also been planted on large swathes of land along rivers and also in irrigated areas, which officials say should be reserved for rice and cash crop production to ensure food security. Villagers have made several calls to the special hotline operated by the National Assembly, saying banana farms have used and leaked chemicals which have damaged their crops and livestock.
Provincial authorities have now suspended investment in banana farms and the expansion of existing farms in the wake of inspections that proved the claims to be true.

Log export prohibition to benefit furniture entrepreneurs

VT Times, September 21, 2015

Furniture entrepreneurs hope to receive increased benefits for their businesses and create revenue for the country after the government prohibited log exports. The government also instructed that timber must be processed within the country before being exporting to foreign countries.

Govt set to issue 60,000 land titles next fiscal year

VT Times, September 17, 2015

The government has set a target to register 100,000 land plots and issue land titles on 60,000 plots in the next fiscal year 2015-16. The target was approved by the cabinet at the government’s monthly meeting for August held late last month at the Government Office in Vientiane. Since the programme to issue land titles began in 1997, it is expected that more than 900,000 land titles will h ave been issued by this fiscal year which finishes at the end of this month, Deputy Director General of the Land Administration Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr. Anothai Chanthalasy said recently.

Xekong villagers disturbed by gold diggers

Vientiane Times, September 11, 2015.

People in two villages of Xekong province are troubled as gold diggers are using toxic materials to separate the gold from ore deposits. Villagers fear there are serious risks of illness not only to them but also the gold miners because of the unsafe practices. People have posted a letter on social media begging the relevant sectors to take control of the gold diggers in the two villages of Dakpong and Dakchang in Dakcheung district, Xekong province.

Officials discuss access to justice in Laos

Vientiane Times,  August 28, 2015.

Experts from the legal sector in Laos met with their counterparts from Vietnam, China and Singapore yesterday in Vientiane to discuss the improvement of services and access to justice in Laos. The improvement of access to justice by the Lao people forms part of a project for the implementation of the legal sector master plan (SPLSMP).

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