Law for State Land Management in Cambodia

TitleLaw for State Land Management in Cambodia
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsThiel F
Secondary TitleSpatial Data Serving People: Land Governance and the Environment – Building the Capacity
Place PublishedHanoi
Key themesAccessToJustice, Conversion-FoodSecurity, Policy-law

Access to land empowered by law is a crucial issue for sustainable development of a modern, prosperous Cambodia where the social and ecological responsibilities are well developed and embedded in a State Land Management. The State is the main actor in the land sector and has to guarantee State public property which cannot be transformed into private property. Cambodia shows still a high rural poverty rate, land concentration and anarchy in illegal land possession, illegal claim of State land and protected areas as privately owned and unlawful logging. State Land Management in Cambodia must give an answer to these problems. It is an interdisciplinary approach of land policy, land law, land economy and planning law for the use and valuation of land properties (immovable properties). The legal framework for property includes the Constitution from 1993, the Land Law from 2001, and Sub-Decrees. Private property is protected under the Constitution and the Land Law. Only natural persons or legal entities of Khmer nationality shall have the rights to own land. Private property rights ensure “exclusive” interests of the property. The essential property form for State Land Management is State public property. This property must be interpreted in the future as the property of Cambodian people that serves all human beings in the country, as a public interest. Having a land use planning system in the future, the Cambodian planning authorities are able to guide and restrict the use of State public property in order to protect and promote the public interest. State Land Management needs a broader basis within the Constitution than today. One of the main purposes of public oriented and constitutionally justified land management is to ensure access to land to all Cambodian people for their private use. Private land use under conditions of tenure security is more efficient than State land use. But that does not automatically require private property. State public property with the guarantee for private use, e.g. through land leasing, is absolutely sustainable, sufficient, efficient and effective for Cambodia. StateLand Management in Cambodia must – as a future task - comprise constitutional law, land law, planning law, concessions and leasing on State land that cannot be transformed into private property. State Land Management can also be a State driven concept of Good Land Governance in other (developing) countries. The Constitution and the Land Law shall empower the Government to guarantee a market economy for all Cambodian people based on State public property that is not allowed to be sold to the people. It must be interpreted as a public interest in the future that the (eternal) ground rent as the economic gain of the land use is skimmed-off and, in the next step, is redistributed to all Cambodians in equal shares.


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