UNDP’s strategic role as the supporter of the National Round Table Process, the country's main development forum, including UNDP's role as co-chair of the National Round Table Meeting with the government, is resulting in international donors’ priorities and financing becoming more cl osely aligned with national development goals. The Round Table Process effectively identifies key development focus areas and directs necessary resources to meet the needs. For example, as a result of attention by the Round Table Process, the Government has developed a multi-sectoral nutrition plan, committed to provide a free maternal health care package and is more closely reviewing the quality of foreign direct investment.
With UNDP's assistance, Government service delivery is improving at the national, provincial and district levels. People in 35 districts in five of the country’s poorest provinces are taking development into their own hands following UNDP’s investment in 286 small-scale local infrastructure projects. One-Door Service centres across the country ensure faster, more effective and more open delivery of services such as land or business registration.
The first community radio station in Khoun district, Xieng Khouang Province, led to 70 percent more women in the district using health facilities when pregnant and 50 percent more women, particularly from the Hmong ethnic group, now vaccinating their children. The Government and UNDP are looking to establish community radios in the country’s 47 poorest districts.
Parliamentarians are engaging more with the Lao people through outreach missions to districts and villages, assisted by expert teams that make use of coordination support from UNDP to National Assembly committees. The Legal Sector Master Plan, drafted with support from UNDP, is the key instrument to ensure a ‘rule of law state’ is realized by 2020.
With natural resources coming under increasing pressure, a set of poverty-environment indicators has been developed for monitoring and evaluating the 7TH national development plan, showing linkages with high policy relevance for Lao PDR: land use management for sustainable development; food security; forest and trees; environmental pollution control/waste management; and natural disasters.
The National Investment Strategy, planned with UNDP's technical assistance, acts as a guide for promoting and selecting quality investments in natural resources that do not harm the environment. The Small Grants Programme shows that small-scale investments in natural resource management and biodiversity conservation can have long-lasting impact if communities are involved, as well as contributing to the development of civil society.
The UXO programme has been tackling the deadly legacy of war since 1996. More than 30,000 hectares of land – equivalent to 300 square kilometres – have been cleared, and more than 1 million items of UXO destroyed. This increases the safety of people in nearby communities and expands the amount of land available for food production and other development activities.