Lao PDR - Country Brief


Introduction


The ILO has a long history of providing advisory support to the Lao Government for its rural infrastructure works programme dating back to the early 1980s. More recently, the ILO, with technical backstopping from ASIST-AP, has been supporting the Government at central and provincial levels in building up local capacity to plan and implement rural infrastructure works. As part of this support effective tools have been established for Integrated Rural Accessibility Planning (IRAP).

ASIST-AP also has a close collaboration with the formal training institutions involved in this sector - in particular the Polytechnic, the School of Transport and Communications and the MCTPC Telecom and Communication Training Institute (TCTI).

More recently, ASIST-AP has provided technical assistance to the rural road components in two ADB loan funded projects, the Shifting Cultivation Stabilisation Pilot Project (SCSPP) in Houaphanh Province and the Smallholder Development Project in Champasack Province. This support essentially consisted of (i) technical inputs for the survey and design of rural roads, (ii) assistance in contract supervision during the implementation of the road works, and (iii) strengthening of local capacity to undertake similar work in the future.

Local Level Planning

The "Rural Access Planning and Infrastructure for Basic Needs Project" or "IRAP" started in 1995 with UNDP funding, and was executed by the Lao Government with technical assistance from ILO. In 1997, Sida started co-financing this project. The main components included:

  • development, promotion and institutionalization of local level access planning;
  • training of government counterpart staff and the establishment of local capacity;
  • establishment of data bases and preparation of maps; identification of priority projects and the formulation of project proposals;
  • development of a community participatory process of planning and implementing rural access interventions;
  • development and establishment of a rural road planning framework.

Rural Roads

Through the labour-based rural road works project in Savannakhet and Oudomxai, the ILO managed to develop a comprehensive strategy for construction and maintenance of rural roads in Laos. The viability of these policies and implementation strategies were clearly verified through the road works activities carried out in the two provinces. The main recommendations as regards to the viability of using labour-based technology in the road sector were summarised in a strategy document prepared for the government by this project. In addition, the project documented how labour-based technology can be applied under the prevalent conditions of Laos in a technical manual.

Through the same project, the ILO established a close working relationship with various training institutions in Laos, as they had taken interest in labour-based road works technology. Through their involvement in project training activities, these institutions decided to disseminate this experience to a wider audience by incorporating labour-based technology in their regular training courses. As a result, the ILO was involved in the development of appropriate training material on labour-based road works technology for the School of Transport and Communications and the Vientiane Polytechnic.

Current Activities

More recently, ASIST-AP staff has participated in several strategy workshops relating to the effective provision of rural infrastructure in Laos covering topics such as rural road maintenance and national road strategies.

A national workshop was held to review the procedures developed to improve access at the district level and to receive inputs from different line agencies such as health, education, transport and agriculture.

Further Reading