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Laos to adopt public-private partnership in poverty reduction

/ 02:59 PM October 18, 2015

Officials from the Laos government and autonomous organizations have pledged to involve the private sector in poverty reduction programs to ensure its effectiveness and efficiency.

The officials were speaking at the 4th Asean Forum on Rural Development and Poverty Reduction, which began on October 15 in Vientiane to discuss public, private and people’s partnerships (4Ps) for the post-2015 sustainable development in the region.

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In his opening remarks, the National Committee for Rural Development and Poverty Reduction’s planning and foreign relations office head Chit Thavisay said: “With the public-private connection, a project can be performed in an effective and efficient way”.

About 80 delegates from Asean countries were attending yesterday’s forum sessions, of whom 36 were from civil society organizations in the region.

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Chit, who is also an Asean rural development and poverty reduction senior official, reminded participants about beneficiaries’ points of view, which he said put more importance on impact and particularly sustainability.

“Hence, the involvement of the private sector in poverty reduction can assure effectiveness and efficiency by their cost effective mechanisms and flexibility,” he said.

“While the involvement of people is crucial for accountability and sustainability, through ownership people feel that poverty reduction is their duty, it is for them, and should be done by themselves,” he added.

Speaking at the meeting, the Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF) executive director Bounkhuang Souvannaphanh made mention about public private partnerships (3Ps) having been widely adopted in developing countries to provide essential social and economic infrastructure and services, which he said aimed at synergising the advantage of both public and private sectors through a comprehensive partnership between them.

He noted the process that had been applied so far did not necessarily include the active participation of the beneficiaries in the decision making, planning and implementation processes, which had led to people’s dissatisfaction with the services provided, lack of ownership and the consequent questioning of sustainability and profitability of investments.

“Therefore, the 4Ps is a process aiming at fulfilling this gap by bringing the public engagement as a key input for infrastructure planning and policy making, putting people as a major stakeholder for implementing public private partnership schemes,” Bounkuang said.

Reports on achievements and good practices of civil society organizations (CSOs) from Asean countries which have been selected to receive awards for their leading contribution in rural development and poverty reduction were also in the forum agenda which will run throughout this week.

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The CSOs to receive the Asean Rural Development and Poverty Eradication Award are the Council of Brunei Darussalam, Australia Catholic Relief from Cambodia, BITRA from Indonesia, PRF, AZAM from Malaysia, Network Activities Group from Myanmar, PAKISMA from the Philippines, LBSA from Singapore, The Human Development Foundation from Thailand, and Centre for Rural Development from Vietnam.

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TAGS: Asia, Laos, Poverty, poverty reduction, Public-Private Partnership
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