Vientiane, Lao PDR (16th November 2022) —The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and United Nations and UNDP today, convened a meeting of Chairs and Co-Chairs of the Sector Working Groups (SWGs) from Line Ministries and Development Partners which is Chaired by H.E Mme Phonevanh Outhavong, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Planning and Investment and Co-Chaired by Ms. Sara Sekkenes, UN Resident Coordinator in Lao PDR with participant of Deputy Minister from line ministries, Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Home Affair, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Natural Resources, representative from Embassies and Head of International Organization and CSO. It is the first meeting of all Chairs and co-Chairs of SWGs to discuss and consult each other on matters relating to effective development cooperation and how the work of SWGs contributes to the overall development agenda of the country. This meeting is also an opportunity for all 10 SWGs to share a common understanding about the upcoming Round Table Implementation Meeting (RTIM) which will be tentatively organized in January 2023 which will bring together representatives from the Government, Development Partner, the private sector, and civil society to reflect on Effective Development Cooperation in light of Vientiane Declaration Country Action Plan (VDCAP) and SWG reviews.
H.E Mme Phonevanh stated that it is an opportunity that Line Ministries and Development Partners who Chairs and Co-Chairs SWGs will collectively hear more from and brief each other on great important work of all sector working group and sub-sector working groups in light of the reviews of VDCAP and SWGs. The Co-Chair of the meeting, Ms. Sekkenes echoed what the Vice Minister highlighted and stressed the importance of a sharp priority on making the best use of all the development resources including ODA since new challenges when countries around the world are grappling with rapid rising costs of everyday essentials and the economic and financial difficulty that the country is facing are known by all of us, and thus today we take the time to reflect on the lessons we have all learn from the past year and reviews of what working well under SWGs, areas that have been raised as potentially benefitting from strengthening, and ideas on possible ways ahead.
During the meeting, the Department of International Cooperation/Ministry of Planning and Investment under the leadership of Madam. Sisomboune Ounavong, Director General provided key presentations on the results of the Vientiane Declaration Country Action Plan and Sector Working Group reviews. Then, the floor was opened for plenary discussion for all participants. A key takeaway highlight from today’s meeting is the importance of the work of SWGs and its better link with the Round Table and Implementation Meetings under the framework of the Round Table Process.
Near the end of the meeting, the chair and co-chair expressed the appreciation to all participants, development partners for joining the meeting. Ms Sara, a co-chair, proposed a practical roadmap through a consultative process on how to update the SWGs. This includes convening a task force from government representatives, development partners, civil society and private sector to formulate a detailed proposal to come up any changes for more effective cooperation of this group of chairs and co-chairs of the SWGs. H.E. Mme Phonevanh, the chair of the meeting acknowledges useful suggestions from development partners and all participants in order to make better improvement of work implementation of SWGs and will systematically report the results of today meeting to the high-level leaders and the Lao government for consideration and policies adjustment for effective implementation of the NSEDP and other agendas.