- The Government of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) has developed new legislation, policies, and plans to promote economic development through socially and environmentally sustainable forest management but illegal logging remains a challenge.
- There are risks associated with the land allocation process in Lao PDR and corruption persists, though this risk has been diminished by recent legal reforms around granting of concessions and management of conversion timber.
- Lao PDR has introduced numerous bans on the exports of unprocessed logs and sawn timber which has dramatically reduced trade with Vietnam and China.
- There remains a risk of unsustainable and illegal trade in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)-listed species, but a recent (September 2021) Order has prohibited imports and exports of goods protected via international conventions, including CITES.
- Enforcement is improving but is still weak and lacks sufficient resourcing.
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The Lao government has lost $767 million to corruption in the past six years, media reports referred to the country’s State Inspection Authority. The leading sources of the widespread graft are government development and investment projects such as road and bridge construction, as well as illegal logging and wood trade, the authority said in a report published on April 11.
Police in Vientiane Capital have arrested six people believed to have undertaken illegal logging in a forest in Sangthong District. Police officers in cooperation with military personnel undertaking a routine patrol of the area found that timber businesses had illegally felled trees in the forest near Phou Phanang, according to Vientiane Capital Security News. The illegally sourced timber has been confiscated and an investigation is underway.
Authorities in Vientiane Province’s Kasi District have confiscated and destroyed illegal timber. According to a report by Lao Phattana Daily, some 170 pieces of hardwood were seized in Bouakxang Mountain at Nongsan Village of Kasi District. Authorities have permitted 94 blocks of illegal hardwood to be auctioned off to generate revenue for the government. The remaining 76 blocks of illegal timber were burned to prevent as a deterrent to further illegal logging.