WASHINGTON, DC, June 26, 2020—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a $93 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Cambodia Land Allocation for Social and Economic Development Project III (LASED III). The project will help improve land tenure security and access to infrastructure and agricultural and social services for landless and poor smallholders and indigenous communities in Cambodia.
Providing sustainable and secure access to land and natural resources for small agricultural producers and rural communities is an integral part of the government’s poverty reduction strategy. To implement this, the government has established a legal framework for Social Land Concessions (SLC) that expands land titling for the landless rural poor. The government has also promoted Indigenous Communal Land Titling (ICLT) to enhance tenure security for indigenous people over their lands.
Since 2008, the World Bank’s LASED and LASED II projects have supported the SLC program to successfully pilot a more sustainable and transparent process of land allocation to poor people. These projects have also supported the development of rural roads, small irrigation systems, primary schools, and health posts, provided training on agricultural improvement techniques, and supported the establishment of expanded services for farmers. Through these two projects, Cambodia has allocated 17,000 hectares of residential and agriculture farmland to more than 5,000 landless and land-poor families, and 3360 families have already received land titles.
“Access to land, better agriculture practices and extension services to improve productivity as well as access to better public services are crucial t for the rural poor,” said Inguna Dobraja, World Bank Country Manager for Cambodia. “LASED III will help the government to continue providing land and land titles to landless and land-poor families and to ensure land tenure security for indigenous communities in the project targeted areas.”
LASED III will build on the experience of LASED and LASED II to expand the implementation of the SLC program. Land titling for indigenous communities will support the completion of several ongoing ICLT processes and will also provide assistance to communities that have already completed their ICLT processes.
LASED III will cover 71 sites and communities in all provinces in Cambodia except Phnom Penh. The project will support building rural roads, small-scale irrigation systems, water supply and sanitation facilities, school buildings, teachers’ houses, health posts and community centers. New SLC beneficiaries will receive assistance for their first-year crops, including seedlings.
The project will also provide technical assistance to implement climate-smart agriculture techniques, establish farmers’ organizations for production and marketing activities, and manage community funds to scale up local economic activities.