Strategy

Switzerland aims to reduce poverty, support equitable and sustainable development, and foster democratic governance in Cambodia and Lao PDR with their own country programme portfolios as well as regional projects that include Vietnam and Myanmar. The overall regional rationale is to contribute to bridging the development gap between the CLM-countries and the better-off ASEAN-6.

Over the past 20 years, countries in the region experienced stable economic growth, allowing Cambodia and Lao PDR to reach the status of Lower Middle Income Country, but not graduate out of the Least Developed Country categorization. The economic growth led to an impressive reduction of overall poverty. However, major challenges such as increasing inequalities, lack of inclusion of vulnerable citizens, specifically women and minorities in rural and more remote areas, weak institutional capacities and environmental degradation persisted and partly grew. These challenges, if not appropriately dealt with, may jeopardize stability and the future development of the region.

Switzerland will continue addressing current development challenges in three main sectors. These are in line with national development priorities and cover Governance and Citizen Participation, Agriculture and Food Security and Skills Development and Employment. In Cambodia, maternal and child health continues to be supported.

Switzerland's activities in the region all include the cross-cutting themes of gender equality, governance and climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR).

Swiss Cooperation is based on the Federal Council’s Dispatch on Switzerland’s International Cooperation 2017-2020, guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the  commitment to support the implementation of the Development Effectiveness principles while applying a Whole of Government approach. In this spirit, Switzerland is engaged as member in the European Joint Programming in Cambodia and Lao PDR; supports Multi-stakeholder Partnerships; and aligns with existing results based on National Development Plans. Switzerland’s  presence in the region is also inspired by its status as Sectoral Dialogue Partner of ASEAN. The latter is considered as one of the key organisations to bridge the development gap between its member states.

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%