On the 28th of last month, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA), in partnership with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Laos, organized a one-day hybrid inter-ministerial technical workshop on the implementation of One-Door-Service Centers (ODSCs).
The workshop was co-chaired by Mr. Nisith Keopanya, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Ms. Ricarda Rieger, Resident Representative, UNDP Laos, and Mr. Juwang Zhu, Director, Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG), on behalf of Mr. LIU Zhenmin, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. The workshop was supported by UN DESA’s Development Account Project 1819G on “Institutional arrangements for policy integration, coordination, and stakeholder engagement in SDG implementation and reviews in Asia & the Pacific”.
The first ODSC in Laos was established in 2007 in Saysettha District, Vientiane Capital. To date, there are 49 ODSCs across the nation. The implementation of ODSCs is the attempt of the Government of Laos to provide public services to citizens.
Despite the progress of ODSC implementation over the years, challenges remain. One of which is the lack of coordination among the government agencies as mentioned by Mr. Nisith Keopanya, “different concerned ministries and agencies need to work together if we want ODSCs to provide public services to citizens most effectively and transparently.”
To address the challenges, this workshop aimed to provide a platform for decision-makers and officials from different ministries in Laos to learn lessons on promoting effective, inclusive, and accountable ODSCs to mitigate current and future challenges in public service delivery.
In this workshop, UN DESA also presented to the participants on the international experiences of ODSCs with a focus on key building blocks that could lead to the successful implementation of ODSCs. Participants were also invited to share their opinions on the importance of digital governance, clear organizational structures, and stakeholder engagement in implementing ODSCs in Laos.
In September 2021, the United Nations launched ‘Our Common Agenda’, an agenda of action designed to accelerate the implementation of existing agreements, including the Sustainable Development Goals. One of the commitments of the Agenda is to ‘build trust’ to improve people’s experiences with public institutions and basic services. In line with this Agenda, Mr. Juwang Zhu expressed the commitment of UN DESA to continue to support Laos in the process of ODSC implementation.
The workshop also embodied a historical significance as it was the first time since the establishment of ODSCs that officials across all the eighteen ministries and in the Prime Minister Office in Laos came together to discuss the implementation of ODSCs. The results of this workshop would inform the upcoming high-level inter-ministerial workshop on ODSC implementation that is tentatively scheduled to be taken place in late November this year.