6 Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Where we are

PHOTO: UNDP LAO PDR/Philippe Pernet

Poverty in Lao PDR has declined steadily, having dropped by 40% between 1992/93 and 2007/08. The country is on track to achieving the poverty target, or has already achieved this target. But while overall poverty has declined, the country’s rapid economic growth has not benefited all equally. Those in geographically disadvantaged areas have seen an increase in poverty and large disparities in skills-based job opportunities. To promote more equitable growth, revenues from the resource sector need to be applied toward broader economic and social development.

Despite generally declining poverty rates, food poverty has in fact increased in both urban and rural areas between 2002/03 and 2007/08. Food poverty hit a low of 19.8% in 2002/03. A return to those levels would see the country close to its 2015 target of 19%. More difficult to achieve will be the prevalence of stunted and underweight children, with an estimated 44% of children under five stunted and some 27% underweight. These are well off the goals of 34% and 22%, respectively.

Meeting the targets:

Economic growth is necessary but not sufficient for poverty reduction. To continue to achieve significant reductions in poverty, Lao PDR needs to diversify its economy and give further attention to strengthening the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. This will allow for more broad-based and equitable growth and skills development. In additional, attention must be given to the development of rural infrastructure and improved opportunities and wages of unskilled workers. 

UNDP's work in Lao PDR

  • Representatives from Government, UN and development partners visit a vocational training school in Xieng Khouang Province. Photo: UNDP Lao PDR/Laophoto

    Round Table provincial consultation tackles poverty in northern Lao PDR

    To achieve the targets set under the 7th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP), including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), better development results must be achieved in more

Targets for MDG1
  1. Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day
    • Proportion of population below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Poverty gap ratio
    • Share of poorest quintile in national consumption
  2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
    • Growth rate of GDP per person employed
    • Employment-to-population ratio
    • Proportion of employed people living below $1 (PPP) per day
    • Proportion of own-account and contributing family workers in total employment
  3. Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger
    • Prevalence of underweight children under-five years of age
    • Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption