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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

World Bank Ready to Support Cambodia to Improve Living Conditions of Resettled People

World Bank Ready to Support Cambodia to Improve Living Conditions of Resettled People: "
Contacts:


In Phnom Penh:

Bou Saroeun

(855) 23-217-301

sbou@worldbank.org






In Washington:

Mohamad Al-Arief

+1 (202) 352-4745

malarief@worldbank.org





WASHINGTON, December 17, 2009 — The World Bank stands ready to help Cambodia to improve the living conditions of people who have been resettled or are facing resettlement from land subject to development, the head of the World Bank for South-East Asia said today.


Ms Annette Dixon, World Bank Country Director for Cambodia said land and resettlement practices continue to present Cambodia with some of the country's toughest development challenges.


“We are prepared to provide the support that's needed for the Government to ensure that people who have been resettled or those at risk of resettlement have access to fair and transparent systems of dispute resolution, compensation and ways to rebuild their livelihoods,” she said.


Ms Dixon’s statement comes on the same day that the World Bank’s management response to a recent “request for inspection” into the Land Management & Administration Program (LMAP) in Cambodia is released via the web. The request was made to the Inspection Panel (IP) - an independent unit of the World Bank that can investigate claims as to whether the Bank has adhered to its policies and procedures in the conduct of its operations.


A request relating to LMAP was registered with the Inspection Panel on September 24, 2009, and World Bank management provided its response to the request on November 1.


Among the issues raised in the request was whether LMAP - a seven-year program of activities aimed at supporting Government efforts to modernize the country’s land administration system – complied with its policies and procedures concerning involuntary resettlement and project supervision. The request focuses particular attention on urban settlements in the capital, Phnom Penh where tenure insecurity and involuntary resettlement have been a problem for many years.


The management response highlights the achievements as well as the shortcomings of LMAP. In particular, LMAP:


  • Helped with the registration & titling of 1.1 million parcels of land across Cambodia

  • Helped put in place key parts of the land policy and regulatory framework.


But in a very complex governance environment with land values increasing rapidly leading to high numbers of evictions and resettlements, the land sector situation changed considerably during the life of the project and LMAP didn’t keep pace with these changes.


Following the Government’s decision to cancel LMAP in September, the World Bank has been discussing possible actions that could be implemented with Government and other development partners to address ongoing land and resettlement challenges.


Ms Dixon said the World Bank has offered to review the Government’s draft policy and legal framework for resettlement and to provide technical and financial support to improve the living conditions and livelihood opportunities for people who have been resettled to relocation sites.


“People without land or secure title to land are much more likely to be poor and stay poor,” Ms Dixon said. “Secure land tenure is a vital contributor to getting people out of poverty. That’s why the World Bank is involved and will continue to be engaged in the land sector in Cambodia.”
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