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The recognition of customary tenure in Lao PDR

Published by: MRLG

This study begins with a broad overview of customary tenure arrangements in Lao PDR, followed by a discussion of key policy changes over the past 30 years that have impacted on these arrangements. Forest and land allocation, village consolidation and market oriented policies aimed at turning land into capital have all undermined customary tenure systems and depicted small farmers as poor and unproductive, partly because the non-monetary value of their productive activities are not accounted for. Poverty reduction solutions proposed by the government and development partners often focus on ‘modernizing’ and transforming subsistence rural farmers into market-oriented agribusiness producers. These have resulted in multiple impacts on culture, livelihoods and customary practices. A more balanced approach, this study argues, would be greater legal recognition of customary land rights to ensure livelihood security while rural populations adapt to changes based on what they know.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Document type Reports, journal articles, and research papers (including theses and dissertations)
Language of document
  • English
  • Forest cover
  • Forest policy and administration
  • Land
  • Land policy and administration
Geographic area (spatial range)
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
Copyright Yes
Access and use constraints

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Version / Edition 1
License CC-BY-3.0-IGO

For more information, contact: Jeremy Ironside, consultant: Natalia Scurrah, MRLG:

Author (individual) Jeremy Ironside
Publisher Mekong Region Land Governance
Publication date 2017
Pagination 66
Keywords customary tenure,communal land tilting,land concessions
Date uploaded February 13, 2018, 20:15 (UTC)
Date modified February 7, 2019, 06:12 (UTC)