On the sections on nutrition, we note with concern that there are no references to either the important multi-sectoral “convergence approach” nor the implementation of the “National Nutrition Strategy”. We propose to highlight the multi-sectoral dimension of the nutrition challenges in Lao PDR, in particular at the subnational level, and to translate this into a Multi-sectoral Food and Nutrition Security Action Plan with a common results framework to be used by all stakeholders.
We fully agree with the importance given to macro-economic stability and would suggest to further emphasize financial reporting, budget transparency and the improvement of domestic revenue mobilization in paragraph 346. We also recommend introducing references to an action plan on anti- money laundering.
As regards trade, the draft NSEDP does not include any analysis on possible impacts of LDC graduation and consequences of Lao PDR becoming an upper- middle income country. We would like to signal that graduation would entail a loss of trade preferences with the EU and other major markets, which is likely to have an impact on FDI in the textile sector, food processing and agricultural products (sugar, coffee, rice, etc.). As these are key sectors of employment, it would be useful to introduce some mitigation measures to address these potential drawbacks.
Regarding the sections on vocational education, we appreciate the critical analysis of the weaknesses of the TVET system, especially the poor quality and respective low demand for technical and vocational education and training. To improve the low quality of learning and teaching we would recommend a thorough reform of TVET teacher training based on labor market oriented practical skill acquisition in cooperation with the private sector and selective teacher recruitment according to proof of performance.
Under the governance and justice sector, we would recommend a more decentralised, bottom-up and inclusive approach, which gives more space to the voice of citizens and allows for greater interaction between authorities and citizens. All citizens should have access to justice. Sharp differences in poverty rates and access to services persist between different geographic areas and ethnic groups, calling for local participatory planning and prioritisation.
We are concerned about Outcome 2/Output 1 on “resettling people”. We would appreciate receiving more information on the Government plans 2016-20 on resettlement.
We recommend that appropriate measures to reverse the worrying trends of biodiversity loss (MDG 7 B) are considered alongside the target of increasing national forest cover (which currently includes conservation forest, protection forest, and the potentially damaging to wildlife production forest). We suggest that biodiversity be seriously acknowledged when defining the policies for the new target of raising the forest cover to 70% by 2020. We would also welcome detailed measures describing how this target will be achieved. The development partner community would like to see data on forest cover and land use be made public and accessible free of charge.
On sustainable land management we propose to reformulate the targets and to add granting collective and communal land titles (besides individual titles) and protecting customary tenure.
We welcome the recognition of the need to improve legislation on the use and management of natural resources. We would welcome increased efforts for boosting law enforcement capacities and more explicit links to illegal timber and wildlife trade in the broader context of sustainable development.
We were concerned to note that the proposed UXO performance related targets do not seem to be in line with the new evidence based methodology (adopted in November 2014) which is currently being rolled out. We recommend for the 8th NSEDP to make explicit reference to clearance of Confirmed Hazardous Areas, and for the UXO-related targets to be adapted to the new approach.
We welcome the specific outcomes and targets for health and education but we note that some targets will lead to rapid expansion (e.g. of schools and hospitals) and will require more human and financial resources. It is important to introduce targets which correspond to required and available funding and resources.
We hope that the comments above can be taken into account when preparing the final version of the 8th NSEDP. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further clarifications and inputs if needed.
The NSEDP is an important and useful document for us when planning our cooperation programmes and we are pleased to have the possibility to contribute to its finalisation, building upon the Government’s efforts.