Specialized seminar on community-based land and forestland allocation
The seminar aimed at sharing and assessing methodology, lessons learnt and processes of CBLFA applied by LISO in Lao Cai, Lang Son, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Kon Tum provinces (Vietnam) and Luang Prabang (Laos) since the early 1990s. Participants reviewed, consolidated and helped to work out the Processes of CBLFA, and to improve capacity of the junior staff simultaneously.
This Procecces will be applied by LISO in the near future in order to ensure the 5 basic, interrelated rights of the ethnic indigenous peoples, including: 1) The right to land, forest and water (basic); 2) The right to maintain one’s own religion (unique); 3) The right to live according to one’s own culture (practice); 4) The right to operate according one’s own knowledge and decide what to plant, initiate, create and invent on one’s own land (holistic), and 5) The right to co-manage or co-govern natural resources with neighboring communities and local authorities (strategic).
Participants tried to find out a common perception of CBLFA. Accordingly, every activities occuring before, during and after land allocation process should base on thorough studies, respect and promotion of local landscape, unique natural conditions, inheritance and integration of community values, traditional institutions and local knowledge in land use plan. Land zoning and land use plan should be set up on the basis of local people’s needs for the current and future land and forests, so as to assure a preservation of the future generation’s existence and cultural spaces. The rights of community to participate and decide in the process of land and forestland allocation are appreciated as a precondition for success. Village elders, village leaders, clan heads, reputable and key-persons are seen as important actors deciding resolutions for land conflicts, overlappings and obstacles occuring prior to, during and after land allocation process.
In response to the above expectation and practical needs, the seminar has worked out and introduced 11 basic steps in CBLFA. Among the priorities, pre-feasibility studies for forestland allocation, cultural identity, customary law, local knowledge in management, use and protection of land and forest, and ethnobotany research necessariate to be conducted early to create a foundation for relevant approaches and methodology of the whole process.