Land Leases and Concessions in the Lao PDR: A Characterization of Investments in Land and their Impacts, Based on field data of 2014-2017 | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
December 2020
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The management of land concessions and leases in the agriculture, tree plantation, hydropower and mining subsectors (referred to as land deals henceforth) is a crosscutting topic and involves a wide range of agencies of the Government of the Lao PDR (GoL) at various administrative levels, from the granting stage to the supervision and monitoring of progress and compliance. To date, government activities related to the granting and management of land deals have sometimes not been well coordinated, and there is at times a lack of clarity of mandates, leading to inefficient management of data on deals. In consequence, GoL ministries face challenges in timely retrieval of integrated information for well-informed planning and monitoring. The Prime Ministerial Order, issued on 11 June in 2012 (PM/13), called for collaboration between GoL ministries for providing evidence on the status and quality of land deals. Against this backdrop, an inter-ministerial collaboration of four ministries – the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE), the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM), and the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) was initiated through the Lao DECIDE info project. The Lao DECIDE info project was technically support by the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern, and was financially supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The purpose of this collaboration was to develop methodologies for monitoring and assessing land deals, jointly collecting field data on them, and analysing the data to track their key aspects and indicators. The report at hand summarizes key findings on the current situation of land concessions and leases in the Lao PDR. It draws on two new datasets created within the scope of the presented work. First, a nation-wide land deal inventory with key information on deals in the agriculture, tree plantation, and mining (including prospecting and exploration) subsectors, documents a total of 1,758 land deals for which a total area of 11,754,417 ha, or roughly 50% of Lao PDR’s territory, was granted. However, 91% (10,735,077 ha granted for 237 deals) of these areas are still under mineral prospecting and exploration. The land granted for development account for 1,521 deals covering 1,008,884 ha (4% of Lao PDR’s territory). Only 54% or 549,248 ha of total areas granted for development were implemented up to the time when the inventory was conducted. Second, a comprehensive assessment of quality of investment was carried out for 296 land deals in nine provinces. It is based on interviews with government representatives, company representatives, and people affected by the deals assessed. The measures of quality assessed include legal compliance, and environmental, economic, and social impacts. An Index for Quality of Investment (IQI) is proposed based on the quality of investment questionnaires and land deals were rated for their overall quality using this index.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Hett C, Nanhthavong V,

Hanephom S,

Phommachanh A,

Sidavong B,

Phouangphet K,

Lu J,

Shattuck A,

Ingalls M,

Bernhard R,

Phathitmixay S,

Phomphakdy C,

Heinimann A,

Epprecht M


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