The Mekong Regional Land Governance project has based its Headquarter in Laos PDR and for its operation in Lao PDR, a Memorandum of Agreement between Lao Government, represented by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the Government of Switzerland, represented by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, was signed on 13 March 2015.
In Laos, the MRLG activities are facilitated by Mr. Soukkasem Lomathmanyvong . MRLG Laos organized its first National Stakeholder Consultation Workshop in November 2014 in order to introduce the funding mechanism QDF and to work out with its key stakeholders their priorities. Together they identified four thematic areas for its Learning and Advocacy activities for the Project’s year 2015: (1) Communal land registration and titling, (2) Engaging private sector in land governance, (3) Policy dialogues based on research evidence, (4) Local rights/legal education. Below is the brief summary of the MRLG activities in Lao PDR:
Learning and Advocacy Activities (L&A)
Since their establishment, the L&A thematic groups had been working together in identifying challenges, defining strategies and developing activity proposal to submit for funding approval from MRLG. To date, three thematic groups submitted successfully and are implementing their activity plan:
Communal land registration and titling: Collecting of information related to communal land registration and titling in Lao PDR and Thailand, through study visits and literature review, to develop a comparative case study of the processes. The group is facilitated by MRLG in collaboration with DOLA, MONRE.
Engaging private sector in land governance: Collecting information related to corporate social responsibility (CSR), through literature review, a CSR seminar and study visits, to produce a draft information guidelines on responsible investment in Lao PDR. The group is facilitated by VFI, LIWG and MRLG.
Local rights/legal education: Collating existing training modules and materials to use as bases for developing, then piloting, a training curriculum on local legal rights with the focus on land rights. The group pilot is Clinical Legal Education, Faculty of Law and Political Science(National University of Laos)
Quick Disbursement Fund (QDF)
In November 2014, MRLG awarded one QDF to Village Focus International and implemented by Land Issues Working Group: Integrated Natural Resource Management for Food Security. This project aim for improve the land right awareness for small farmers in two provinces in current contract farming negotiations.
Innovation Fund (IF)
After the first call for IF proposals, MRLG received 8 proposals from Lao proponents, one of them was shortlisted: Land Learning Initiatives for Food Security Enhancement (LIFE) aiming to scale up the QDF.