The Official Launch of IOM in Lao PDR Country Strategy 2022-2026

The Official Launch of IOM in Lao PDR Country Strategy 2022-2026
The Official Launch of IOM in Lao PDR Country Strategy 2022-2026

On Thursday 24th of February 2022, the International Organisation or Migration (IOM) with the Ministry of Planning and Investment launched the first ever IOM Country Strategy for Lao People’s Democratic Republic, at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Vientiane Capital.  The ceremony was co-chaired by H.E. Dr. Sathabandith Insisiengmai, the Vice Minister of Planning and Investment; and Dr. Maria Nenette Motus the IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.  The ceremony was also attended by Vice Ministers from other line ministries, diplomatic delegates, and development partners.

The Official Launch of IOM in Lao PDR Country Strategy 2022-2026The Country Strategy 2022-2026 is IOM Lao PDR’s first-ever strategic framework under the Cooperation Agreement that was signed between IOM and the Government of Lao PDR on 1 September 2021, which confirmed IOM’s mandate and status as a United Nations entity in Lao People’s Democratic Republic.  The five-year Country Strategy was completed through a series of consultations with the Lao Government, United Nation agencies, and developments partners to ensure that it is aligned with the Lao People’s Democratic Republic 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) 2021-2025; and the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2022-2026 for Lao PDR. It is also informed by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the Global Goals); and reflects the IOM Global Strategic Results Framework and IOM’s commitments under the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration.

In giving her opening remarks, Dr. Maria Nenette Motus, IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific

The Official Launch of IOM in Lao PDR Country Strategy 2022-2026expressed sincere gratitude to the Lao Government and relevant key stakeholders for their substantial contribution to the development of the Country Strategy. She highlighted the importance of this achievement for IOM and emphasized that the five-year Country Strategy “defines a clear strategic pathway for IOM to work within the country, and guide IOM’s operations and strategic engagement, and enhance current and future collaborations with the Government of Lao PDR, donors, UN agencies, and development partners in Lao PDR and the region”.

IOM has worked in Lao PDR since 2001, and during this time has collaborated with the Government of Lao PDR on various areas of migration management. This includes supporting emergency and post-crisis responses including during the COVID-19 pandemic; contributing to improvements on immigration and border management; facilitating safe migration pathways for Lao and foreign migrants; complimenting the work on migration, environment, and climate change; providing migrant protection and assistance support to vulnerable populations; enhancing the focus on migration health; and providing technical support for migration governance and policy development. The IOM Country Strategy 2022-2026 will therefore serve as the foundation for the continuation of cooperation between IOM and the Lao Government for the next five years.

The Official Launch of IOM in Lao PDR Country Strategy 2022-2026During his opening remarks, Dr. H.E. Dr Sthabandith Insisiengmai the Vice Minister of Planning and Investment of Lao People’s Democratic Republic recognised IOM’s work in Lao PDR since 2021 and emphasized that the Country Strategy was an important step forward for cooperation, and the Government of Lao PDR is “pleased to stand by IOM and support IOM, particularly in supporting the government of Lao PDR on migration management and involved area of work related to COVID-19”.

In her response to the support statement from the Lao Government on the development and launch of the IOM Country Strategy 2022-2026, Ms. Shareen Tuladhar the Chief of Mission for IOM Lao People’s Democratic Republic highlighted the IOM strategic goal over the next five years, that “by 2026, IOM will have developed a holistic approach in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, inclusive of government, civil society and private sector partners, to improve migration management and the protection of migrants”. For the next five years under the Country Strategy, IOM will work with the clear strategic vision that “IOM Lao People’s Democratic Republic inspires people to want to create a better life for migrants and their communities”.

The Official Launch of IOM in Lao PDR Country Strategy 2022-2026The Country Strategy also defines IOM’s priorities on migration governance and migration management to actualize the development goals of Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and overall prosperity and well-being of the Lao people. It also positions IOM for enhanced cooperation with the Lao Government, donors, UN agencies, and development partners in the country and the region. Towards this, Ms Tuladhar committed IOM’s readiness and capabilities to “strengthen collaboration with the wider Government agencies including the existing and new partners as well as relevant stakeholders to address the challenge of migration issues in the country, and in strengthening development cooperation to ensure synergies and maximize development returns”.

Under its Country Strategy 2022-2026, IOM will support the Lao Government for its priorities to achieve a seamless transition to Least Developing Country (LDC) graduation in 2026, and in implementing the 9th NSDEP and COVID-19 response and recovery plan. By 2026, IOM Lao PDR would have brought together key stakeholders including government, civil society, and private sector partners, for whole-of- government and whole-of-society approaches to strengthen migration governance, migration management, and migrant protection.