Strategy

Switzerland aims to reduce poverty, support equitable and sustainable development, and foster democratic governance in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar. Switzerland is active in three sectors: social development, local governance and citizen participation, agriculture and food security, as well as vocational education and training.

Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam have achieved strong economic growth rates and significant prorgress in poverty reduction in the past 20 years.  They remain, however, among the poorest countries in southeast Asia.  Inequalities are growing and democratic participation remains weak.  Poverty is most widespread among the rural population and in ethnic minority groups. Agriculture provides livelihoods for approximately 80% of the population.

All countries face huge challenges such as improving social and environmental development, diversifying the economy and strengthening inclusive growth.  As they seek to enter the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, the social and economic gap with the other six ASEAN countries will have to be narrowed.

All stakeholders within the federal administration coordinate their activities using a common approach.  Switzerland's activities in the region all include the cross-cutting themes of gender equality, participation of marginalised groups and non-discrimination, adapting to climate change as well as disaster prevention and risk reduction. Key partners in the development cooperation are:

  • Swiss partners: Helvetas Intercooperation, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), Nestlé, Allianz Re, MeteoSwiss)
  • Ministries and provincial or district authorities
  • Local NGOs
  • International NGOs such as Care International, CORD (peacebuilding organisation), the WWF
  • Regional partners (The Centre for People and Forests, Mekong River Commission, Mekong Institute)
  • Bilateral donors such as Germany and the Nordic countries
  • Multilateral organisations such as the UNDP, World Bank, Asian Development Bank

SDC Programming in Lao PDR

A nutrition improvement focus village in Houaphan, Lao PDR.
A nutrition improvement focus village in Houaphan, Lao PDR. © SDC/Touravanh

About SDC in Lao PDR

SDC has supported development projects in Lao PDR since 1990. In 2006, SDC opened a country office in Vientiane to oversee Switzerland’s development cooperation activities in the country. Since 2008, the Lao country office serves as the SDC coordination office for programming in Cambodia and Lao PDR, as well as regional project that include Myanmar and Vietnam. The office celebrated 10 years of bilateral cooperation with the Government of Lao PDR in 2016.

Mekong river bridge to replace ferry crossing in Xayaburi, Lao PDR.
Mekong river bridge to replace ferry crossing in Xayaburi, Lao PDR. © SDC/Touravanh

SDC Programming

Switzerland’s overall goal is to contribute to building inclusive societies through equitable and sustainable development and democratic governance. To this end, Switzerland contributes to poverty reduction and inclusive and equitable development in Lao PDR.

Villagers, local authorities and project staff discuss new primary school construction progress in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR.
Villagers, local authorities and project staff discuss new primary school construction progress in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. © SDC/Adrian Gnaegi

Governance and Citizen Participation

Switzerland contributes to outputs and outcomes of the 8th Lao Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) 2016-2020 in the areas of improving district public service delivery and poverty reduction. It will also continue to promote citizen participation; strengthen the representation and oversight role of the National Assembly and the newly-established Provincial People’s Assemblies, both considered to have a potential as drivers of change. It will stay engaged in advocacy for a strengthened role of (national) NGOs as partners in the development process and an enabling environment. Finally, Switzerland continues to facilitate more open-access socio-economic information and to create spaces to trigger debates, policy dialogue and decision-making based on evidence.

Open air fresh market in Vientiane Capital City, Lao PDR.
Open air fresh market in Vientiane Capital City, Lao PDR. © SDC/Adrian Gnaegi

Agriculture and Food Security

Switzerland contributes to food security by improving the livelihoods of vulnerable groups. It will continue to enhance quality agricultural education, promote the sustainable use of agrobiodiversity, support farmers’ organisations and facilitate more and better rural advisory services in order to improve smallholder farmer productivity. To address high malnutrition among children and adults it emphasizes dietary diversity. Switzerland also helps to increase household capacities to cope with disaster risks and climate change impacts. Moreover, Switzerland puts more emphasis on agricultural value chains, access to markets for smallholders as well as peri-urban farming. It eases access to land by raising stakeholder awareness and participation in land use-related decision-making and conflict resolution.

Students and trainers at a hotel and tourism training center in Vientiane Capital City, Lao PDR.
Students and trainers at a hotel and tourism training center in Vientiane Capital City, Lao PDR. © SDC/Touravanh

Employment and Vocational Education and Training

Switzerland aims to improve the quality of skills provision and its relevance to employers and labour market needs. Ultimately, the goal of this domain is to increase the number of women and men, in particular those from disadvantaged groups, who enrol in vocational education and training and who then access gainful and decent employment and self-employment. To this intent, Switzerland also cooperates with stakeholders to strengthen the regulatory framework and delivery systems, including for informal skills provision. Throughout, Switzerland promotes private sector involvement.

Resources Allocation

Participatory village planning in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR.
Participatory village planning in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. © SDC/Touravanh

SDC Actual disbursements in Lao PDR

2006-2012:     CHF 75.6 million      

2013-2017:     CHF 83.87 million

 

Projected disbursements in Lao PDR

2018-2021: CHF 64 million

 

Planned allocations by country (in million CHF)

 

2018

2019

2020

2021

Total

% Total

Mekong Region

8

8

8

8

32

22%

Cambodia

12.5

12.5

12.5

12.5

50

34%

Lao PDR

16

16

16

16

64

44%

Total

36.5

36.5

36.5

36.5

146

100%

 

Planned allocations by thematic domain (in million CHF)

Domains

2018

2019

2020

2021

Total

% Total

Governance, citizen participation and health

14

14

14

14

56

38%

Agriculture and food security

12.5

12.5

12.5

12.5

50

34%

Skills development and employment

10

10

10

10

40

27%

Total

36.5

36.5

36.5

36.5

146

100%