Luxembourg's development cooperation in Laos
The Lao People's Democratic Republic was selected as a partner country for Luxembourg's development cooperation programme in 1997, the year in which the two countries established diplomatic relations in the wings of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. These formal acts were immediately followed by concrete achievements, with a first project in the health sector. In January 2016, consistent with the policy of concentrating Luxembourg's aid on the Least Developed Countries (LDC), Luxembourg opened an embassy in Vientiane. Luxembourg also takes part in the EU joint programming initiative with the Luxembourg embassy taking the lead EU role in the health and aid effectiveness sectors.
The general framework of the cooperation relationship was established in Vientiane in February 2000 with the signing of a general cooperation agreement. This was complemented in November 2003 by the first Indicative Cooperation Programme (ICP I 2003-2006) of a total of 18 million euros, as well as the agreement establishing the partnership committee.
2006 saw the signing of the second ICP (ICP II 2007-2010), which increased the budget to 35 million euros, thereby considerably enhancing the scope of our cooperation. The third ICP (ICP III 2011-2015), with a financial allocation of 50 million euros, made Luxembourg one of the leading donors in Laos.
The fourth ICP (ICP IV 2016-2020) with a budget of 60 million euros, significantly increased to 75 million euros at the end of 2017 (Addendum to ICP IV), is consistent with Luxembourg's cooperation development programme in Laos. The ICP is therefore focused on reducing poverty, and is aligned with the Lao PDR's 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP 2016-2020). It is also focused on Laos' needs, supporting it in its endeavour to achieve the sustainable development goals and to shed its status as one of the least developed countries. The ICP is therefore based mainly on the health, education, and development of human resources sectors as well as on integrated rural development. Particular emphasis will be placed on good governance, which will also be a cross-cutting theme, alongside gender equality, the environment and climate change.
At the multilateral level, Luxembourg is fully involved in the round table process. This takes the form of active participation, enhanced by strategic financial support. Moreover, Luxembourg is also involved in mine clearance efforts and the combating of certain types of criminality by aiming to offer alternative means of subsistence with the support of UN agencies. Starting in 2017, Luxembourg will support a joint programme involving three UN agencies targeting reproductive, maternal and infantile health, and will support the implementation of the new national strategy in these sectors.
At the regional level, Luxembourg helps finance the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and supports good land management via a regional land governance project in this same region.
Seven Luxembourg NGOs, whose projects are cofinanced up to 80% by the development cooperation programme, are currently active in Laos in the development arena, in particular health, rural development, education, food security and legal training. Certain NGOs have provided humanitarian support which is 100% financed by the development cooperation programme.