Collaborative Initiatives in Southern Laos: UN-Habitat and Fukuoka’s Mission for Sustainable Development

25 January 2024, Attapeu and Champasak provinces and Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR – The UN-Habitat Lao PDR team actively participated in an important mission from 15 through 17 January 2024 which took place in the southern region of Laos. This mission was a pivotal component of a program orchestrated by Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, and the UN-Habitat Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) in Fukuoka, in collaboration with UN-Habitat Lao PDR. The primary objective of this program is to foster the development of human resources, emphasizing the application of technology, skills, and knowledge to formulate business plans addressing social issues.

The comprehensive training initiative within this program involved on-site observations at local housing reconstruction sites post the 2018 dam collapse, the installation of solar lights in parks to reduce CO2 emissions, and the establishment of small-scale water supply facilities. Active engagement with diverse government stakeholders was a crucial aspect, including meetings with the Vice Provincial Governors of Champassak and Attapeu in each province, along with courtesy visits to the Ministry of Public Works and Transports (MPWT) and the Embassy of Japan in Vientiane. The training is anticipated to significantly contribute to the capacity development of young engineers and managers, who were part of the mission, positioning them as future leaders in their respective fields.

A notable site visit during the mission was the Sanamxay District, Attapeu province, where collaborative recovery initiatives between UN-Habitat and the Government of Japan have resulted in the establishment of permanent houses for those affected by the 2018 dam failure in Xe-Pien Xe-Namnoy. With a valuable contribution of USD 2.2 million, UN-Habitat has made significant progress in rehabilitating and reconstructing shelters and water supplies in the affected provinces, constructing 66 houses, and enhancing overall livelihoods and well-being. This intervention ensures resilience against future climatic events and safeguards the enduring welfare of the community.

Ms. Phoudone Choummaly, the Vice District Governor of Sanamxay, offered valuable insights into the UN-Habitat-supported project: the insecurities of villagers post-dam collapse, the livelihoods and educational challenges and the recovery efforts led by the Government and other development partners, including UN-Habitat. Participants in the mission gained a deeper understanding of the complexities and factors encompassing humanitarian activities and factors essential for driving sustainable development in developing nations.

In conclusion, this mission serves as a testament to the effectiveness of collaborative efforts in achieving sustainable development goals. It establishes a solid foundation for continued cooperation between UN-Habitat, Fukuoka, and Lao PDR.

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