Poverty Environment Initiative (PEI) Phase II Inception Workshop

11 Jan 2013

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On January 11 2013, at Don Chan Palace, the Ministry of Planning and Investment in collaboration with UNDP/UNEP organized the inception workshop for Phase II of the Poverty Environment Initiative (PEI) to present the achievements of the PEI Phase I and discuss with stakeholders on the final work plan and approach for the successful delivery of Phase II.

PEI is a joint UNDP and UNEP global programme operating in over 20 countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Europe. PEI supports country-led efforts that integrate pro-poor environment linkages into decision-making and planning process. The objective of PEI in Lao PDR is to ensure that the country’s rapid economic growth generates inclusive and sustainable development by strengthening of institutional capacity in national development planning, investment management and legislative processes.

Mr. Somchit Inthamith, Vice Minister of Ministry of Planning and Investment stated that “Laos is one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia, with an average annual increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of just over 8%. This high level of growth is largely driven by Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the natural resources sector - with currently over half of the country’s GDP derived from mining, forestry, agriculture, and hydropower. It will be important to achieve economic growth sustainably by ensuring the relevant institutions expand on the substantial learning’s of PEI Phase I and further develop the institutional system and tools and staff capacities to allow each department to effectively coordinate and deliver its mandates to reduce environmental degradation and improve the economic wellbeing of the people. Thus, the PEI programme must make strong contributions to achieving MDGs.”

From 2009 to 2012, PEI Phase I has supported the effective integration of poverty-environment concern into policy, planning and implementation process for poverty reduction, with poverty-environment objectives now a core part of the 7th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP). Draft of national and provincial investment strategies are developed to guide promoting and selecting quality investment, along with investment assessment and management tools including the investment database, technical guidelines for environment impact assessment report writing and evidence based research on the social and environmental costs of land use.

Ms. Kyoko Yokosuka, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative mentioned that “the PEI for Lao PDR is no stranger to supporting the sustainable development agenda. Starting in 2009, the initiatives independent evaluations have highlighted very positive and encouraging results recognizing strong government ownership and the wide scale achievements across the different implementing governmental departments”.

Building on the body of work and lessons from the initial Phase I, the programme Phase II will focus on implementation of the assessment tools, mechanisms and strategies developed to support targeted central and provincial authorities. The PEI has five components that will work towards sustainable and inclusive development that will be achieved through a number of avenues including: the implementation and monitoring of the NSEDP, the further development of national and selected provincial investment strategies, improving the effectiveness of environmental and social impact assessments, strengthening the capacity of the National Assembly on key poverty-environment issues, and expanded the use of economic and environmental research to support decision making processes.

The programme is coordinated by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) with the programme components managed by the Department of Planning, Investment Promotion Department, National Economic Research Institute, Department of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and National Assembly. Phase II will be implemented over three years from 2012 to 2015 and will work in six pilot provinces including Phongsaly, Oudomxay, Savannakhet, Saravan, Vientiane and Houaphan.

PEI Phase II is financially supported by the joint UNDP-UNEP and Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC).

Contact Information

Ms. Chindaphone Saignaleuth
PEI Communication Coordinator
Email: chindaphone_s@hotmail.com
Tel: 020 56717017, 021 219614