21 October 2015
Business is playing a bigger role in Lao PDR’s development planning.
Preparatory consultation between business leaders and the Government. Photo: Ministry of Planning and Investment
Vientiane - On the 27th of November, Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong will host a major conference to chart how the international community can best support the country's next five-year development plan. In preparation, business is being consulted like never before.
"This is first time the business community has been fully consulted in the planning process" [for Lao PDR's main development cooperation forum] said Sengdavone Bangonesendet, Secretary General of the Lao PDR Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at a preparatory consultation between 20 Laotian business leaders and the Government on Friday 16th October.
"Business wants to be a core partner in economic development, and this consultation gives us a chance to share our ideas with government," said Bangonesendet "A big part of that is improving the environment for business. If businesses grow, we create more jobs."
The 'High Level Round Table Meeting' on development cooperation set for the 27th November will bring together 300 delegates from the government, donor governments, the United Nations, non-profit organisations and the private sector.
Delegates will endorse a new Partnership Declaration at the meeting. 'The Vientiane Declaration on Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation' aims to expand and deepen cooperation with business, civil society, 'emerging' donor countries, ASEAN members and 'traditional' partners from the West, Japan and Australia.
H.E. Mr Somdy Douangdy, Minister of Planning and Investment said: "The 2015 Vientiane Declaration will mark a step-change in the way we work together for development in Lao PDR. Under government leadership, each partner, based on their respective strengths, will play a role in supporting our efforts to graduate from Least Economically Developed status by 2020."
The Declaration builds on an agreement reached in 2006 on the effective use of aid. It places more emphasis on boosting taxes and other domestic revenues, increasing cooperation with other developing countries, boosting knowledge and technology transfer and closer work with business and civil society.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment has led a range of consultations with development partners and other key stakeholders, including business, international non-governmental organisations and non-profit associations. Consultations are also taking place across key sectors like health, infrastructure, education and rural development, to ensure all have been able to contribute to the Declaration.
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) consolidated views from the donor community.
"The Declaration ties tried and tested global principles that make development cooperation more effective to the unique strengths and needs of Lao PDR," said Kaarina Immonen, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Lao PDR.
"These principles include ownership of development cooperation by the host government, a strong focus on results, inclusive development partnerships, and transparency and accountability to one another."
Mr. Sysomphorn Phetdaoheuang,Deputy Director General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Planning and Investment