MLMUPC responds to WB Inspection Panel

Mar. 10, 2011. The Cambodian Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC) has issued a press release regarding the link between the Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP) and the Boeung Kak area. You can read it here and below.

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Press Release
(Unofficial Translation)

Boeung Kak is not legally linked to Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP);
Safeguards Were Not Triggered for Boeung Kak:

The Royal Government of Cambodia would like to declare that Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP), a Project implemented by the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC), has never involved with the Boeung Kak area.

To support this claim, the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction would like to clarify this as follows:

According to the Environmental and Social Safeguards of the LMAP (dated December 12, 2001), the Social Safeguards shall be implemented to protect people who may have been negatively impacted by the three (3) possible sources:

(i) Eviction from unregistered state land of individuals who occupied the land prior to August 30, 2001, enactment of the new land law, following registration of such a land in the name of state,

(ii) Eviction from registered state land of individuals who occupied the land prior to the enactment of the new land law (August 30, 2001), because the need to use such a land for the carrying out of civil works under the project, and

(iii) Extension by the stage of right of way (ROW) claims which adversely affects possession rights.

Disputes referred to the Boeung Kak area concerns the Status of the Land as State Public Land. According to the Land Law 2001, areas considered as state public land cannot be a subject of private possession and occupant can be punished by law. However none of these areas have been registered as a state land by LMAP. Therefore it is not under the conditions set for social safeguards in the Credit Agreement and they have not been triggered.

The reason the above-mentioned areas have not been registered as state land is because LMAP has followed the requirement of the Project Appraisal Document (PAD) (dated January 29, 2002) which clearly states that disputed areas shall be excluded from the registration. P.24 of this PAD states that: “the project will not title lands in areas where disputes are likely until agreements are reached on the status of Land” (p.24). This means that the land can be titled only until a dispute has been resolved.

The Sras Chak commune was declared as an adjudication area on March 31, 2006 by the Phnom Penh Administration Committee. The excluded area (the Boeng Kak area, being part of Sras Chak commune) was shown in a transparent, 30 day Public Display, according to Sub-decree 46, from January 4, 2007 to February 2, 2007. It is during this 30 day period where any complaint received, will bring the dispute into an appeal process which would start with the Administration Committee, and could be appealed to the Cadastral Commission, and up to the court in the event that the dispute is not resolved. During this 30-day period; however, no complaint was received. Therefore, LMAP followed the PAD to exclude the area from title, and the legal process of sub-decree 46 for public display.

If the area of discussion above was legally not in a registration area, then any complaints about this area cannot be linked to LMAP. In any event, application of the Resettlements Policy Framework (RPF) was not triggered, for the fundamental reason that the excluded area was not titled to the state by LMAP.

The LMAP has followed this excluded approach which is fully consistent with the Development Credit Agreement (DCA), and the Project Appraisal Document. The target of 1 million registered parcels could not have been achieved with different approach. Discussions to revise the approach should have been conducted according to agreed proceedings. The approach, however, has not been questioned or even discussed during any of Supervision Missions which happens every 6 months. Neither did the Mid Term Review held in Autumn
2004 raise the issue.

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