PEI Lao PDR Initiates Phase II of the Poverty Environment Initiative
On January 11 2013 the Ministry of Planning and Investment in collaboration with UNDP/UNEP organized an inception workshop for Phase II of the Poverty Environment Initiative (PEI) to be implemented over three years from 2012 to 2015.
From 2009 to 2012, PEI Phase I has supported the effective integration of P-E concerns into policy, planning and implementation process for poverty reduction, with P-E objectives now being a core part of the 7th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP). Draft of national and provincial investment strategies are developed to guide the selection of quality investments, along with investment assessment and management tools including an investment database, technical guidelines for environment impact assessment report writing and evidence based research on the social and environmental costs of land use.
In the inception workshop, 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”.
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.”
Building on the body of work and lessons from the initial Phase I, the PEI Phase II in Lao PDR 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.
On January 15th Thailand's The Nation highligthed the discussions held during the workshop in the article 'Laos among fastest-growing in South East Asia'