Tag Archives: improve

Reform Measures Improve Governance

The implementation of governance and public administration reform has improved various ministerial sectors in the country.

This conclusion was reached at a meeting held in Vientiane yesterday to review the National Governance and Public Administration Reform Programme (GPAR).

Strengthening Capacity for Service Delivery for Local Administration Projects (SCSD) and the Secretariat Supported Project are two of the schemes under the programme, which came to an end this year after five years of implementation.

Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Khammoun Viphongxay, said the two projects have been implemented with effective management and met the planned targets.

He pointed to the Governance Sector Working Group as an important stage for regular constructive consultation of the sectors related to governance.

I think we should continue to support the group next year and the years to come as it provides a good model for constructive consultation, Mr Khammoun said.

This showed the effective cross-sector collaboration between the government agencies and other organisations, including the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Justice, the National Assembly, provincial authorities and development partner organisations, he added.

Around US$8 million has been spent for GPAR projects in the past five years with funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Capital Development Fund, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, the Republic of Korea, the Council of Government of Luxembourg, the Asian Development Bank and the European Union.

The deputy minister noted the District Development Fund (DDF) under the programme as a form of inclusive planning and decision making, saying the DDF has been implemented well with participation of many constituents at the local level.

According to a report delivered at the meeting, a challenge to the programme is the execution of the One Door Service Centre (ODSC), which members of the public confirmed has been implemented, but remarked, however, that the programme remains ineffective in mitigating the various bureaucratic barriers financiers face when investing in the country.

The Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Home Affairs Department of Planning and Cooperation, Mr Nisith Keopanya, said the system needs improvement with more cross sector cooperation.

According to him, experts have been hired to assess the system services, who have recommended conducting service level benchmarking. Mr Nisith said the new model of ODSC will be tested in several locations before rolling out a working model. Justice, effective governance and public administration are necessary facilities for sustainable, inclusive development as well as poverty reduction, the Deputy Minister said.

Working effectively is fundamental for the country’s graduation from least developed status to a modern state, overcoming the challenges accompanied by regional and international integration, Mr Khammoun concluded.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

New Funding Programme to Help Improve Ecosystems in Borikhamxay

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Laos Programme will work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to protect and conserve the unique and important species, habitats, and ecosystems in Borikhamxay province.

An agreement on the Integrated Ecosystem and Wildlife Management Programme Phase 3 was signed on Wednesday by WCS Greater Mekong Region Director and Country Programme Director, Dr Christopher Holmes, and Director of the Borikhamxay provincial Agriculture and Forestry Department, Mr Khamphiou Phimmathath.

The five-year programme will run until 2020 through financial support of more than 16.9 billion kip (US$ 2,055,684) from the Theun-Hinboun Power Company, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Cargill, Macarthur, European Union, AFD, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

This agreement will build on more than 10 years of partnership through a programme of community engagement and livelihood development, and biodiversity and watershed management. Under the agreement, the programme will launch at the Nam Kading National Protected Area, Phou Si Thone Endangered Species Conservation Area, and Nam Gnouang South Protection Forest Area. The programme will help Borikhamxay to work in conservation forests and protection forests, with agreement to work in areas where other projects already exist, or are proposed based on discussion prior to the activity implementation.

The overall goal of the programme is to conserve and manage the forest resources and biodiversity within conservation forests, including protected areas and protection forests in support of efforts to improve local livelihoods sustainably.

The vision for Phase 3 of the programme is to continue to support the government to protect and manage the unique ecosystems within protected areas of the province so that they thrive indefinitely and are valued by the people of the Laos, and the world, for the biodiversity and services that they provide to both local communities and the nation.

Phase 3 contains components that build on Phases 1 and 2, which strengthened government capacity and supported the livelihoods of local communities.

The programme contributes to achieving government commitments under international conventions on biological diversity and on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

The programme also aligns and contributes to specific government strategies and plans, including the National Socio-Economic Development Plan until 2025 and Vision until 2030, Five Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2016-2020, Forestry Strategy to the Year 2020, Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2010-2020 and other plans.

The Northern Annamite Mountains have the highest concentration of endemic species for a continental area in the world and are recognised globally for their biodiversity, ranked as one of the world’s 200 most important eco-regions.

This eco-region, which includes many forest areas in Borikhamxay, also supports some of Southeast Asia’s most charismatic species including Asian elephants, gibbons, and Annamite endemic species such as the Saola and Annamite striped rabbit, to name only a few.

In Borikhamxay province, the WCS Laos Programme works in partnership with the Lao government and local communities to conserve ecosystems and biodiversity.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

ADB to Help Improve Higher Education in Laos

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government have signed grant and loan assistance agreements for more than 382.2 billion kip (US$64.9 million) to improve education quality and ensure graduates have sufficient skills to meet labour market demands.

The grant signing ceremony took place yesterday in Vientiane, inked by Deputy Minister of Finance Ms Thipphakone Chanthavongsa and Officer-in-Charge of ADB Lao Resident Mission Mr Steven Schipani.

Deputy Minister of Education and Sports Associate Prof. Dr Kongsy Sengmany and officials from other government agencies also attended the signing ceremony.

Mr Schipani said these projects were important elements of the Ministry of Education and Sports’ wider reform programme to improve the quality and relevance of higher education and vocational training.

They will help to ensure that graduates have the necessary skills to participate in an increasingly demanding workforce, with a strong focus on widening access to education and training for poor and disadvantaged students, he said.

The project focuses on improving Laos’ higher education system and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programme to produce graduates with job-ready skills.

Grant and loan assistance of US$39.9 million for the Second Strengthening Higher Education Project will reinforce the links between higher education services and socioeconomic needs by improving education quality, enhancing access to higher education programmes, and strengthening governance and management of higher education institutions.

The project will also support government efforts to meet demand for higher-level skills, particularly in the growing manufacturing and service sectors as Laos moves away from an agriculture-based economy.

The US$25 million grant for the Second Strengthening Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project will help realign TVET programmes with current labour market needs.

The project will continue to strengthen TVET programmes by upgrading teaching and learning environments at eight target vocational colleges, and strengthening teacher competencies to deliver high-value skills training.

It will also improve college management and engage private enterprises to ensure that training is tailored to local industry’s needs. Poor and disadvantaged students will be provided with stipends and dormitory spaces at colleges.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

NA Members Agree their Performance Must Improve

National Assembly (NA) members agreed during debates last week that they needed to work harder to fulfil their mandate and improve the performance of the Assembly.

The assessment came after members of the NA’s 8th Legislature had been in office for six months since April. They also discussed the Assembly’s plan for next year.

Members agreed they had not met with enough of their constituents as they had only had meetings with just over 300,000 people, which was far below the total number of eligible voters at almost 4 million people.

The numbers have failed to meet the target as we aimed to meet up to 60 percent of eligible voters, NA member for Luang Prabang province Lt. Colonel Paenkham Boudchanphaeng said.

He noted that members had not reached out to people living in deprived rural communities.

The lawmakers agreed that funding constraints were the main obstacle to visiting many villages.

Many parliamentarians called for training to be given to NA members to improve their professional competence so they would be better able to fulfil their mandate.

It was considered essential that they were able to closely monitor the performance of the government. It was noted that about 70 percent of the 149 members were new to the role and had limited experience as lawmakers and government inspectors.

This was in addition to the fact that provincial assemblies had been newly created, so that all members of these bodies were new to the job.

NA member for Vientiane Ms Valy Vetsaphong recommended that training should focus on improving members’ competency in inspecting and following up the performance of administrative bodies.

She suggested inviting members of parliament from other countries to give talks and share their experiences, as the Lao National Assembly used to do.

Many NA members called for parliament to push the government to submit documents to be debated in NA sessions several weeks in advance so they had enough time to study them and make constructive recommendations.

Preparation by [the government’s] relevant sectors is not adequate. This is the mechanism we need to work out. There should be a mechanism to push the government to pay greater attention to this issue, NA member for Saravan province Mr Bounpone Sisoulath said, referring to the slow submission of documents.

NA Vice President Somphan Phengkhammy said assessments of individual Assembly members would be carried out, adding that opinions put forward by members during ordinary sessions would be scored and those members who did not contribute an opinion would be recorded.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

Public, Private Sector Discuss Measures to Improve Trade Facilitation

Public and private sectors, and Trade for Development partners have discussed measures to improve the facilitation of trade and the investment attractiveness of Laos.

Project Seeks to Improve Hygiene, Nutrition in 40 Villages

Children living in villages where community members defecate in the open or use unhygienic sanitation facilities are on average 1.1 cm shorter than those living in villages where everybody uses improved sanitation.

IACD Helps Improve Mobile Medical Services

Institute of Asian Culture and Development (IACD) has provided addition grant aid to further improve a mobile medical service project in Borikhan, Khamkeuth and Viengthong districts, Borikhamxay province after completing the first phase.

Tackling Project Bottlenecks to Improve Development Outcomes

Through the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (8th NSEDP), Laos has focused on maintaining high economic growth that benefits all people and in continuing to reduce poverty.