Analyzing the enabling environment for transforming forest landscape conflicts: the example of Lao PDR
Seth Kane, Richard Hackman, Bounyadeth Phouangmala, David Gritten
Forest landscape conflicts can be devastating on many levels – economic, environmental and social, from individual, to subnational, national and global levels. They are symptomatic of many issues revolving around weak governance. The problem is that seldom are they effectively addressed. The aim of the paper is to better understand how and why forest landscape conflicts are happening, who is addressing them, and what can be done to prevent conflict or improve conflict outcomes. Using Lao PDR as a country case study the work also aims to develop an analytical framework for understanding conflict dynamics and capacity gaps that can be applied in similar countries around the world. Lao PDR was chosen due to the high prevalence of forest landscape conflicts, the multiplicity of causes and types of conflicts, and the relative paucity of relevant research and data. Using literature reviews as well as interviews and focus group discussions, the research found that there is no effective system in the country for transforming conflicts. This is reflected in the low capacity of government staff to address conflicts effectively. To address these challenges, the work puts forward an integrated policy and capacity development program to systematize conflict transformation.
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