Tag Archives: prabang

SDGs’ Message Dispersed in Luang Prabang

About 500 officials, lecturers and students at Souphanouvong University in Luang Prabang province gained insight about the implementation of the nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this week.

The information on SDGs was presented in Luang Prabang on Monday by speakers from international agencies along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Attendees heard how the government is pursuing the national development policy and has mainstreamed the SDGs into its 8th Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2016-2020), the Development Strategy 2025 and Vision 2030.

Some 193 leaders from United Nations (UN) member countries, including former Lao President Chommaly Sayasone attended the historic UN summit in New York on September 25, 2015 for the adoption of the international development agenda under the theme “Change Our World”.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development involves 17 SDGs that cover three dimensions – economic, social and environmental.

In addition to the 17 SDGs, the Lao government has adopted its national SDG 18: “Lives Safe from UXO”. Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon launched this SDGI8 on September 7 this year in Vientiane.

The targets of this particular SDG are to ensure that by 2030 residual UXO activities are undertaken and all known UXO contamination in high priority areas and all villages defined as ‘poor’ are cleared; that annual casualties from UXO accidents are eliminated to the extent possible; and that all identified UXO survivors and victims have their needs met.

PM Thongloun is head of the national committee for the SDGs implementation.

The 8th Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2016-2020) aims to implement the resolutions of the 10th Party Congress, which was adopted by the National Assembly in April this year.

The government will focus on the achievement of the goals in its 8th Five-year National Socio-Economic Development Plan, Development Strategy 2025 and Vision 2030, which include green growth and sustainable development, maintaining steady economic growth, achieving constant reductions of poverty and graduating from the least developed country status, among others.

Source: Vientiane Times

PM to launch railway construction in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang province: — Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith will officially launch the start of construction for the Laos-China railway project at a ceremony on December 25.

The ceremony to kick off railway construction will take place in Luang Prabang district’s Phonxay village where a railway bridge spanning the Mekong River will be built.

Director of the provincial Public Works and Transport Department Mr Fasanan Thammavong, told the press on Wednesday that the PM has agreed to launch construction on December 25.

Last week Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong, also discussed the matter with relevant officials in the province.

The railway bridge will be part of the planned 427-km Laos-China railway running from the Chinese border to Vientiane and through the four provinces of Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang, and Vientiane.

The railway through Luang Prabang province covers a length of 80 kilometres taking in the three districts of Chomphet, Luang Prabang and Xiengngeun.

A Chinese construction company will build the railway bridge across the Mekong and four ports that will be used to handle construction materials. The contractors would have preferred to utilise six river ports, but two locations were not suitable as they are tourism sites. Mr Fasanan added that a Chinese construction company would spend two years building the railway bridge across the Mekong River.

Presently, Luang Namtha and Oudomxay provinces have installed some red markers to set out the railway land, while Vientiane province is constructing the railway worker camps for thousands of labourers.

The Laos-China Railway Project is estimated to cost about US$6 billion and will run from the border area of Boten in Luang Namtha province to Vientiane. It is scheduled for completion in 2021 and is 70 percent owned by China and 30 percent by Laos.

A railway will also be built to connect Khammuan province’s Thakhaek district to the Vietnamese border, from where it will run to a coastal port in Vietnam. Another track will be built from Thakhaek to the Cambodian border.

The Laos-China railway will have a 1.435-metre standard-gauge track with 33 stations, 21 of which will be operational initially.

There will be 72 tunnels with a combined length of 183.9 km, representing 43 percent of the railway’s entire length.

The line will also have 170 bridges totalling 69.2 km in length, accounting for 15.8 percent of the total. Passenger trains will travel at 160 km per hour, while the speed of rail freight will be 120 km per hour.

Source: Vientiane Times

Luang Prabang Handicrafts Festival Attracts more Visitors

Luang Prabang Handicrafts Festival has attracted more than 3,000 local and foreign visitors since the event began on December 4.

The weeklong festival is being organised by Luang Prabang Handicrafts Association and before it concludes on December 11 it is hoped they will be able to attract at least 9,000 visitors.

Ms Keo Oudomvilay, who is in charge of the organising committee told Vientiane Times about the visitor target yesterday.

This year marks the fifth year the festival has been held, Ms Keo said.

Holding this festival aims to coincide with celebrating the 21st Anniversary of Luang Prabang as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, she added.

Ms Keo said the festival has featured 20 booths and tourists can shop at the producers’ market as well as join demonstration events.

This year, it is mostly artisans and handicrafts makers participating in the festival. They are selling an extensive variety of products including textiles and many other cultural items from Luang Prabang and surrounding areas.

Beautiful handmade pieces are on sale to suit all budgets, from inexpensive souvenirs to exquisite high-end collectables, she said.

Food products such as coffee, tea, oils and spices produced in Laos are also a key feature of the event.

Moreover, visitors will be able to experience Lao cuisine, coffee and tea as well as witness traditional music and dancing performances.

Ms Keo added that visitors to the festival will notice that many women still wear a traditional tube skirt or sinh .

The sinh is usually made of silk, cotton or a combination of fibers and is woven with motifs that reflect the ethnic culture of a community or region, or the occasion for which it is intended.

Traditionally, a sinh is completely handmade; from the hand spinning of the silk or cotton threads to the dyeing process, preparation of the pattern and loom, and finally; hand weaving.

UNESCO declared the town a World Heritage Site in 1995 and since then tourist arrivals have risen with each passing year.

Luang Prabang is the former capital of the Lane Xang Kingdom, meaning the Land of a Million Elephants. The town is a cultural centre in the region, with its numerous temples paying testimony to its former glory.

Its landmark attractions are its centuries-old Buddhist temples and monasteries, Kuang Xi waterfall, Phousy hill and Buddha cave, all of which are easily accessible.

Luang Prabang was most foreign visitors’ first choice because of its old and attractive temples and the activities of the monks who live in these temples.

According to the Luang Prabang Tourist Office, over 400,000 tourists of all nationalities visited Luang Prabang province last year. They hope to boost the number to 700,000 tourists by 2020.

Source: Vientiane Times

Luang Prabang Sets Sights on ASEAN Clean City Award

Laos is gearing up to submit Luang Prabang province as a contender to receive the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard (ACTCS) in early 2018.

Deputy Director of the Tourism Development Department under the Information, Culture and Tourism Ministry, Ms Phonemaly Inthaphome, told Vientiane Times yesterday the world heritage town was holding its third meeting to discuss an application.

The meeting took place from November 14 to 16, where officials decided on an action plan, the sectors that would be responsible, funding sources, and the time it would take to process the project.

Luang Prabang has more potential than places in other provinces to receive the award. During our last meeting we collected information that would support Luang Prabang’s application. There are 108 criteria that need to be met, Ms Phonemaly said.

The first meeting, which took place in May, explained the potential of the province to win the award to local authorities and the private sector. This was done so they could help with the preparation of the application. The team visited landfill sites, water supply systems, handicraft and other commercial centres in the province to assess the town’s suitability.

Next year, we want to improve our chances of meeting the criteria before the final assessment in September, before we submit our application to ASEAN. If we receive the award, there will be a presentation ceremony in Thailand during the ASEAN Tourism Forum in early 2018, she said.

The third meeting of the team was organised by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism in cooperation with Luang Prabang province. It was supported by the Regional Economic Integration of Laos into ASEAN, Trade and Entrepreneurship Development.

According to an international survey of 2,800 visitors in 2015, carried out by the Tourism Development Department, 83 percent of foreign tourists who visit Laos wanted to see Luang Prabang.

The survey was conducted at Wattay International Airport, the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge on entry into Vientiane, and in Luang Prabang and Champassak provinces.

The survey also revealed that the main interests of visitors were temples and monuments, which comprised 70 percent of visitors’ stated preferred activity.

Sixty-six percent said they were interested in viewing the countryside, 48 percent said they wanted to sample the food, and 34 percent expressed an interest in visiting a new destination.

Luang Prabang was most foreign visitors’ first choice because of its old and attractive temples and the activities of the monks who live in these temples.

Visitors also cited the town’s character and the fact that the local lifestyle was readily observable and accessible.

People in the province assiduously preserve their traditions through festivals and rituals such as Lao New Year, the Boat Racing Festival, the end of Buddhist Lent, ethnic festivals, baci ceremonies, almsgiving, and other temple-based activities.

It was these features that led UNESCO to list the town as a World Heritage Site in 1995, among 1,007 World Heritage Sites in 161 countries worldwide.

The province has regularly been voted as Best City’ by readers of the UK’s Wanderlust travel magazine. Luang Prabang has received the award on seven occasions from 2006 to 2015 (2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015).

 

Source: Vientiane Times

Temporary River Footbridge in Luang Prabang Sustains Damage

A temporary wooden footbridge in Viengkham district, Luang Prabang province, has been damaged during heavy rain, meaning children are unable to cross the river to get to school.

Deputy Governor of Viengkham district, Mr Sayphone Chanthoumma, told Vientiane Times the authorities have warned people not to cross the footbridge until further notice because the structure is not sufficiently stable to support weight.

The heavy rain occurred on November 11, causing the Xaeng river to rise. The strong currents saw trees, branches and other debris flowing downstream, some of which lodged on the bridge supports, compromising the structural integrity of the bridge.

Classes at the local school have been suspended temporarily as children are unable to cross the bridge.

Local officials and villagers are pressing for stronger bridges for use by local communities to cross the river, especially schoolchildren, Mr Sayphone said.

Repairs will be easier now that the river level has dropped and it is estimated they will be finished this week, meaning classes can resume as normal.

The temporary footbridge was built to replace the one that collapsed in Vangbay village a few weeks ago. It can carry only 15-20 people at a time and is about 100 metres long and one metre wide.

Mr Sayphone said local communities cooperated well in helping to build the bridge and volunteered to cut down trees to source the wood.

It is expected that it will be used until the next wet season and residents will build a new one every year until more permanent structures can be built. District authorities plan to build a concrete bridge to replace the wooden footbridge that collapsed, Mr Sayphone said. We have submitted plans to provincial authorities and have received authorisation to go ahead with the work but have yet to finalise a start date.

The old bridge collapsed recently, sending 52 people who were on it at the time into the river below.

Two children drowned and the rest had to be rescued from the water.

The bridge was installed in 2013 but was not opened to the public at that time because some aspects of construction were found to be substandard.

After these problems were addressed, the bridge opened for use in 2015, mainly by people living along both sides of the river in Vangbay village.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

Luang Prabang Awaits Decision on Mekong Railway Bridge

A Chinese construction company will soon visit Luang Prabang to decide on suitable locations for a railway bridge across the Mekong River and a port that will be used to handle the construction materials needed to build the railway.

The railway bridge is part of the planned 427-km Laos-China railway that will run from the Chinese border to Vientiane.

The construction company and provincial authorities will look at possible sites for the bridge and the port, which will receive construction equipment shipped in by river.

A provincial official, who asked not to be named, told Vientiane Times on Thursday “The railway bridge may be built in the town of Luang Prabang, not far from a new bridge that will be built across the Mekong to link the town to Chomphet district.”

This site is not thought to be within the Luang Prabang World Heritage Site, for which a preservation order exists.

The provincial Public Works and Transport Department and provincial Natural Resources and Environment Department will consider whether the sites proposed by the construction company are suitable.

It is not known when construction of either the bridge or the port would begin as the Chinese company has not yet supplied any details.

Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Souphanh Keomixay addressed the issue at the National Assembly this week, answering questions put by Assembly members concerning the railway, with construction scheduled to begin in December.

The Laos-China Railway Project is estimated to cost about US$6 billion and will run from the border area of Boten in Luang Namtha province to Vientiane. It is scheduled for completion in 2021. The project is 70 percent owned by China and 30 percent by Laos.

Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Bounchan Sinthavong told the National Assembly that the railway will run from the Chinese border to Vientiane and the next phase will extend the track to Thailand.

A railway will also be built to connect Khammuan province’s Thakhaek district to the Vietnamese border, from where it will run to a coastal port in Vietnam. Another track will be built from Thakhaek to the Cambodian border.

The Laos-China railway will have a 1.435-metre standard-gauge track. There will be 33 stations, 21 of which will be operational initially.

There will be 72 tunnels with a total length of 183.9 km, representing 43 percent of the railway’s total length. The line will also have 170 bridges totalling 69.2 km in length, accounting for 15.8 percent of the total. Passenger trains will travel at 160 km per hour, while the speed of rail freight will be 120 km per hour.

Source: Vientiane Times

Power Company Gives Boost to Luang Prabang School

Nam Ngum 5 Power Co., Ltd. has given educational equipment to Chim Secondary School in Chim village, Phoukhoun district, Luang Prabang province.

The items donated included 80 desks, four teachers’ tables and four whiteboards, valued at 47 million kip.

The supplies were presented to Chim Secondary School on Tuesday in the presence of the Deputy General Manager of Nam Ngum 5 Power Co., Ltd., Mr. Phonesavanh Keohavong, Deputy General Manager Mr. Tian Shao Qiang, Deputy Governor of Phoukhoun district Dr Phetsamone Vongsipaseuth, local education and sports officials, teachers and students.

Mr. Phonesavanh said that over the last two years the company had helped to build a school, a village club and an infirmary for Chim and Namting villages in Phoukhoun district.

At the end of this year, the company also plans to build a flood rescue centre and a new school in Chim village at a cost of more than 500 million kip.

Principal of Chim Secondary School, Mr. Somboun Yenuthor, said the school opened in the 2008-09 academic year and now had 508 pupils.

During the ceremony, district Deputy Governor Dr Phetsamone asked the company to continue to support education in Phoukhoun district. He also called on village authorities, teachers and students to maintain the equipment they had been given.

Dr Phetsamone asked the company to consider helping to create a football pitch in Bangkalo village.

The Nam Ngum 5 hydropower plant is located on the Nam Ting river, which is a major tributary of the Nam Ngum river upstream in a mountainous area. The power plant is about 300km north of Vientiane. The dam is located in Luang Prabang province and the powerhouse is located in Xieng Khuang province.

The total investment in the project is US$199 million. Sinohydro Corporation Ltd owns a 85 percent share and Electricite Du Laos owns a 15 percent share. The project’s chartered commercial operation period is 25 years.

Work on the project began in October 2008 and the plant became operational in December 2012.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

Footbridges Replaced in Luang Prabang to Allow River Crossings

Local authorities and residents have built temporary wooden footbridges after the previous structures collapsed at the end of last month in Viengkham district, Luang Prabang province.