Office of Community Land Title
 
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Community Land Title for Sustainable Living and Land Preservation Background
and Conceptual Frameworks


 
         Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2550 (2007) Section 85 provides that “ the State shall pursue directive principles of the State policies in relation to land, natural resources and the environment, as follows: … (2) to distribute land holding in a fair manner, enable farmers to have ownership or rights in land for farming thoroughly through land reform or others, and provide water resources for sufficient use of water by farmers in a manner suitable for farming.” At the time of the promulgation of the Constitution, a research study on appropriate community land rights systems proposing the concept of “community land title” or title deed issued for a community in order that the community’s members who have occupied and used public land can have residential and living security on the land under the government supervision. This practice should also reduce government duties on land protection since communities can administer land management themselves. Moreover, the communities receiving the land right will protect the surrounding natural resources such as forest or water resources because the changing environment can affect their holding land. The above mentioned have become the government frameworks in establishing the community land title policy          

Factors influencing the policy on the distribution of land through community land title

  1. Poverty - landless problem together with conflict between government and people can contribute to land holding insecurity.
  2. Unequal distribution of land - unequal distribution of land will result in income generating, access to capital problems. If the problem of unequal distribution of land could not be solved, social problems may become much more severe and widespread.
  3. Sustainable development - landless solution must conform to the purpose of natural resource preservation, especially the prevention of the decrease in forest area which can lead to climate change and global warming.
         In the past, government agencies tried to solve the landless problem by distributing land for farming to landless people in accordance with Land Allocation for Living Act B.E. 2511, and Agricultural Land Reform Act B.E. 2518. People who occupied the land for a prescribed period of time would receive the land title. However, due to many factors, the people could not keep the land, driving them to trespass another area. Moreover, many government policies have positive and negative consequences including the declaration of national forest reserve area or national park. The declaration caused conflict between the government and the local as some nature reserves or parks have no clear boundary. Therefore, the local claimed their right in the declared areas, claming that they had lived in the area before the declaration. The government tried to settle the conflict but the procedures of proof of right was not accepted by the local. Moreover, due to the government officials’ negligence, landless people could trespass and settle in the forest area. Some local reported that the investors were behind the trespassing and the deforestation. The dispute of land right between government and the local has therefore, become more prevalent in most of provinces, forest areas, national forest reserve area, public land, public property and the other land under the State’s control.
          
           The government, therefore, introduced the community land title policy which is in line with the proposals of private sector such as Thailand Reform Network composed of agricultural landless laborers in both urban and rural areas to resolve the conflict. The proposal suggested that due to the market mechanism, landless farmer who received the personal land title not only cannot keep the land but also were heavily in debt. This information is consistent with the opinion of land analysts conducting the research on community land right.

          Community Land Title is not only a sustainable way to solve the landless problem, but also an effective way to enable the government to solve the problem in much more areas for the following reasons.
  • The community land title can enable the monitoring mechanism to check if the usage of the given land meets the problem solving objectives: living or farming objectives.
  • People participation is the key to success of the policy. The problem cannot be solved by the government alone. Public Participation is needed.
     The principle of the policy enables whole community to take care of natural resources. In addition, the collective rules resulting from the collective administration of right will be established.
Roles and Authorities

1. Administer the general affairs fo the Community Land Title committee, as well as related submittee and working groups.

2. Administer the meeting of the Community Land Title committee, as well as related submittee and working groups and act as secretary of each meeting.

3. Study the works and procedures of the Community Land Title in accordance with The Regulation of the Office of the Prime Minister of the Provision of Community Land Title B.E. 2553 (A.D. 2010) and other related laws, orders and cabinet resolutions.

4. Perform the related activities of the Community Land Title such as inspecting and considerting appropriate communities, to be approved of holding the Community Land Title, as wel as, following - up to the performance of each concerned community.

5. Work together with other concerned agencies or other assigned tasks.   


Strengthening cooperation among agencies on the community land title program
          The Office of the Permanent Secretary, the Prime’s Minister Office, by the Office of Community Land Title, has cooperated with concerned agencies in many matters since the program was launched in 2010. Some of the significant ones include:

          1. Establishment of special working groups
            All agencies in charge of public land, including Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Interior and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration have appointed their special working groups to consider the approval of proposed communities eligible to hold the community land title in accordance the Cabinet Resolution on 28 December 2010
2.   Memorandum of Understanding
 

The Office of the Permanent Secretary, the Prime Minister’s Office together with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Ministry of Interior and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at furthering joint cooperation in carrying out the community land title program.

The signing ceremony held on 9 March 2011 at Santi Mai Tri Building was witnessed by the Prime Minister, the Ministers, representatives from concerned agencies and those concerned with the community land title program.

 
            
3. The Performance Report
          All agencies in charge of public land have monthly reported the consideration of which communities will be eligible for the community land title and any progress of consideration in accordance with the cabinet resolution on 22 February 2011.
           


Missions and Strategies

Missions

1. To give people a right in using public land.
2. To develop community's land with balance and sustainablity.
3. To administrate the information of the community land title.


Strategies

1. To give the community land title for people who have occupied and used public land.
2. To support the communities interms of financial resourses, production, marketing, public utilities, and reservation of natural resourses and environment.
3. To develop a database, system and an information ssystem connections regarding to land administration. 
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