Participatory land use planning: Handbook and Toolbox

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At the end of 2009, a manual for Participatory Land Use Planning (PLUP) was published by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the National Land Management Authority (NLMA) to provide a common basis for PLUP implementation in Lao PDR. This manual determined the important principles of PLUP implementation, especially in relation to community participation in the process. A diagnostic study conducted a few months later in a project implementing PLUP along the new guidelines showed that on-the-ground PLUP implementation was still problematic as some tools and methods had not been detailed in the PLUP Manual. The purpose of this PLUP Handbook is to provide practical tools and methods for PLUP implementation based on experiments conducted by the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) together with relevant district line agencies (District Land Management Authority (DLMA) and the District Agriculture and Forestry Offices (DAFO) with the support of the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Institute of Research for Development (IRD) in six villages of Viengkham District in 2010, and in eight more villages in 2011 in partnership with the European Union (EU)-funded Agrisud Project. In 2011, PLUP has been implemented in all 25 target villages of the Agrisud Project in conjunction with food security and agricultural extension activities. Lessons drawn from this experience have been gradually incorporated into the tools and procedures described in this Handbook. Throughout this Handbook the village of Houay Thong is used as an example to ensure consistency. A complementary toolbox has been developed as a reference guide for district staff implementing PLUP in the villages. Most of the reference documents have been adapted from the annexes provided in the PLUP Manual. This Handbook is a reflection of the work in progress and should therefore not be considered as a reference document applicable to elsewhere in Lao PDR. We hope the lessons learnt can be shared with other PLUP implementation projects so as to consolidate the different experiences and to develop a coherent approach for PLUP implementation at the national level together with detailed guidelines for implementers at the local level.

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