Land Reform Council Holds First Meeting

A new council created to study the nation’s land policies met for the first time Thursday and be­gan work on a draft policy to guide upcoming discussions on land laws.

The Council on Land Policy, created in December, set as its first goal the drafting of a statement by June to outline their land priorities.

The statement should be written by June to coincide with the international donors meeting that month, said Im Chhun Lim, the minister of construction and ur­banization.

“We want to show to the world and the international donors that we have an official policy,” he said.

Im Chhun Lim said the statement will cover three areas of land issues: administration, management and distribution.

The development of effective land laws stands as a significant issue for the upcoming session of Parliament, to begin after the Khmer New Year.

Malcolm Childress, a consultant to the Council on Land Policy from the World Bank, said he expects the council to meet their June deadline.

Speaking at the workshop Thursday, Childress said he worked on similar issues in South America and Africa.

“The reason they wanted a national land policy was because they wanted to make sure there is equity, and there was a need to establish stability after historical turmoil,” he said.

There are three factors behind successful land policies, he said: There must be clear, unambiguous legislation; money and re­sources to back up the plans; and the government and people must have the political will to carry out their policy.

The Council on Land Policy was created by the Supreme Coun­cil of the Reform of the State, which is chaired by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The draft statement written at the workshop will be distributed to NGOs working on land issues, such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, to ask for their input.

The workshop also addressed the need for an inventory of land, both private and state-owned, and the need for a complete registration system.


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