The 13th Bilateral Partnership Commission meeting between the Government of Lao PDR and the Government of Luxembourg took place on 8th July 2021.
During the virtual meeting, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has reaffirmed its strong commitment as a reliable and long-term partner for Laos by signing a new five-year agreement worth 1 trillion 68 billion LAK or EUR 95 million.
The new Fifth Indicative Cooperation Programme, ICP V (2022-2026), will focus on the same development priority areas as the current ICP IV, namely health and nutrition, local development, vocational training, and promotion of the rule of law and inclusive governance, with a main geographic focus on the four target provinces Bokeo, Bolikhamxay, Khamouane, and Vientiane. Aligned with the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan, NSEDP (2021-2025), Luxembourg hopes to contribute to Laos’s continuous efforts to achieve poverty eradication and graduate, when conditions are right, from least developed country status.
The meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Mr Sonexay Siphandone, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Planning and Investment and H.E. Mr Franz Fayot, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs.
The meeting took stock of the key achievements of the current fourth Indicative Cooperation Programme ICP IV (2016-2021), which has a total budget of around 94 million Euros and to pave the way forward for the timeframe 2022-2026. Lao line ministries provided a sectoral overview of the ICP IV implementation and highlighted that even with the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic excellent results have been achieved.
Both sides also discussed the global COVID-19 pandemic. Luxembourg’s delegation praised the government and people of Laos for the, so far, successful handling of their COVID-19 response and the relatively small number of fatalities.
The Laotian side thanked Luxembourg, which has since the beginning of the pandemic in spring 2020 allocated over 4 Million Euros to Laos’ Covid response by providing urgently need supplies such as state of the art ultra-cold freezers, decontamination material, testing material and consumables, PPE and other equipment, as well as emergency food aid to 4 provinces. Luxembourg is also a donor of Covax, the global vaccine alliance.
H.E. Mr Franz Fayot, minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs underlined: “Luxembourg’s interventions within the framework of ICP V are resolutely aimed at eradicating extreme poverty. Developing human capital by building capacities and strengthening governance that is “leaving no one behind” are crucial elements of lasting social change.”
H.E. Mr Sonexay Siphandone thanked the Luxembourg government for their long-term commitment and underlined the importance of the Lao-Luxembourg partnership in support of the 9th NSEDP implementation, in the achievement of the national development priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals under the Agenda 2030.
Mr Tonnar, Director General of the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs also highlighted in his remarks that Luxembourg is strongly committed to the joint programming exercise of the European partners (EU, its member states and Switzerland) in Lao PDR in order to strengthen the coordination and effectiveness among the Development partners and to multiply the collective impact that we, as part of TeamEurope, can have in this country.
H.E. Mrs. Phonevanh Outhavong, Vice-Minister of Planning and Investment reminded the importance of increasing the ownership of the line ministries, agencies and provincial authorities to ensure the effective implementation of the projects and programme.
Laos has been a partner country for Luxembourg’s development cooperation since 1997. Luxembourg development cooperation has been supporting Local development, Health, TVET, Promotion of the Rule of Law and inclusive governance with 5 consecutive indicative cooperation programmes. About 80 % of the ICP is implemented by LuxDev and about 20% by multilateral agencies and NGOs.