Laos Update: July 25, 2018

Laos Update | July 25, 2018
Authors: Matt Solomon, Ella Duangkaew, Piranat Viriyaprapaikit
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
August 23-24, 2018: Laos Business MissionThe Council is now registering senior executives for its 2018 Business Mission to Laos. Click here to register, the deadline for registration is August 9. The Mission will focus on building upon the momentum following Secretary Ross's September visit to Laos, the first visit of a US Commerce Secretary to Laos. Mission themes will focus on supporting policy and capacity development in Laos, particularly for digital and financial services policy frameworks. The Meeting with the U.S. Ambassador to Laos is confirmed, and all others are being confirmed. Please contact Ella Duangkaew at eduangkaew@usasean.org with any questions.
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Xe-Pian Dam Bursts Causing Catastrophic Damage

On July 24, the Xe-Pian Dam in the Sanamxay District of the southern province of Attapeu, burst its banks, leading to over five million tons of water to flood into the local area and cause widespread damage to 13 villages. According to Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, 131 people still remain missing and 3,060 people have been left homeless. 26 bodies have been recovered, according to Thai news sources. In his statement, the Prime Minster clarified that he could not confirm if the still missing 131 people are dead or alive. Further information on the status of the flood victims can be found here.

The situation has been elevated to a National Crisis Level by the Lao Government. The Prime Minister canceled the scheduled monthly government meetings from July 23-24 and traveled to the area with several Cabinet Ministers. According to the Vientiane Times, the burst dam—Saddle Dam D—was fractured after continuous rainfalls caused a high volume of water to flow into the project’s reservoir. The dam was 8 meters wide, 770 meters long and 16 meters high, and was originally built to support water diversion around the Xe-Namnoy reservoir as part of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnooy Hydroelectric Power Project.

The Prime Minister has since established an Ad Hoc Committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, to handle rescue and rebuilding efforts surrounding the disaster. The Ministry of Energy and Mines has also announced that it has ordered management of all hydropower dams to stay on alert for weather forecasts and manage rising levels of water in reservoirs. A high ranking official in the Ministry stated that this disaster is the first of its kind involving hydropower dams in Laos , and that water discharge is a typical practice to maintain safety surrounding most dams. However, the Ministry plans to keep a close eye on safety measures of all hydroelectric dams going forward.

These measures are especially important given that Laos has heavily invested in its hydropower infrastructure, with 51 hydropower plans in operation in Laos generating 6,984 MW of electric power. These investments are part of Laos’ vision to become the “Battery of ASEAN,” and export electricity to its more populous neighbors, such as Thailand—with whom Laos has committed to exporting 9,000 MW of electricity. It will be critical for the Lao government to ensure the safety and stability of its dams not only for the safety of its citizens, but also to ensure that it can reliably provide electricity to the region with a secure hydropower infrastructure.

U.S. Imposes Visa Sanctions Laos Over Refusal to Accept Deportees

On July 9, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) imposed visa sanctions on high-ranking officials from Laos and Myanmar due to a “lack of cooperation” on deportations, specifically by delaying or denying the return of citizens who had been given orders of removal from the United States. These individuals have past criminal records, but several came to the U.S. as refugees. It is estimated that there are over 4,600 Laotians and over 600 individuals from Myanmar that have orders of removal. It is unclear if Laos has accepted any of these individuals back, but it is clear that Laos has not come to a formal agreement with the U.S. on repatriation. A DHS press release states that the DHS has made significant efforts to negotiate with Myanmar and Laos, but both countries continued to delay the acceptance of deportees ordered to be removed from the United States. The sanctions may be expanded to a wider population until the DHS determines that cooperation on removals has improved to an acceptable level. Below are the sanctions, as of now, imposed by the DHS:

  • Laos: As of July 9, 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane, Laos, has discontinued the issuance of all B1, B2, and B1/B2 nonimmigrant visas for current officials at the Director General level and above from the Lao Ministry of Public Security (MPS) as well as their immediate families; and all A3 and G5 nonimmigrant visas to individuals employed by Lao government officials, with limited exceptions.
  • Myanmar: As of July 9, 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Myanmar has discontinued the issuance of all B1 and B2 nonimmigrant visas for current officials at the Director General level and above from the Myanmar Ministries of Labor, Immigration, and Population (MOLIP) and Home Affairs (MOHA), and their immediate family members, with limited exceptions.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not issued an official statement regarding the situation. On the other hand, the Government of Lao PDR has expressed dissatisfaction over the visa sanctions imposed. The Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on July 10 stating that the sanctions might hurt the Laos-U.S. cooperative relationship, and urging the U.S. to consider removing these measures against Laos as soon as possible. The statement can be found in English on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR website here.

Prime Minister Pushes for Cooperation on Poverty Reduction

On July 18, Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith praised the progress and achievements made in poverty reduction and rural development during a meeting regarding Government Decree No.348 on Poverty Graduation and Development Standards. Over the past two and half years, the Government has been implementing the “Politburo Instruction” under a policy called “Four Themes and Four Targets.” Centered around village development and poverty reduction, the initiative allowed over 12,000 families and 200 villages to escape poverty during its implementation.

Nevertheless, the Prime Minister still urged communities to continue their efforts to reduce poverty in the country, as over 64,000 families (or 5.3 percent of the population) in Laos still live under the poverty line (192,000 LAK or $22.78 USD per person per month); and around 1,500 villages (or 18.1 percent of villages) nationwide are still considered poor. The per capita GDPF of Laos is $2,353.15 USD. The government is set to raise Laos from the “Least Developed Country (LDC)” status set by the United Nations Committee for Development Policy by 2020. The Committee’s assessment in March showed that the country had reached two criteria for “graduation” in Gross National Income and Human Asset Index, but still lacked a number of other criteria to graduate.

Socio-economic development is a top-level priority for the Laos government, as the government is pursuing improvement not only through numerous investment projects, but also from a bottom-up approach through poverty reduction, development of a strong social-cultural sector, and community empowerment. The foreign private sector may be well positioned to support Laos in these areas through increased investment, rural infrastructure, and corporate social responsibility projects which promote institutional capacity building and human capital development.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 

Regional Affairs
Laos, Myanmar enhance cooperation
Malaysia Helps Improve Lao Technical Officials

National Affairs
Dam safety monitoring stepped up after Attapeu outpouring
Rescuers battle to search for 131 remaining missing: PM
PM Suspends Monthly Meeting, Leads Ministers To Flooded Sanamxay
Xe-Pian Dam Bursts its Banks Causing Catastrophic Damage
Vientiane Authorities To Impose Ten-fold Fines On Drunk Drivers
Prosperity of country, communities reliant on poverty reduction push: PM
Government of Laos Responds to US Visa Restrictions
US to Cease Issuing Visas to Laos Citizens Following Deportation Row
Lao Gov’t, AFD Review Cooperation

Defense & Security
Laos Receives Four Mi-17 Helicopters

Economics
Trade Value Reaches US$ 1.76 Billion
PM Urges Strengthening Business Sector Through Law Improvement
Laos, Development Partners To Review Development Progress By November End

Energy
UNDP and Laos government working together for power grid
Lao government advised to boost renewable energy investment

Financial Services
Lao central bank faces challenges in stabilizing exchange rate
Laos' tiny bourse still struggles after all these years
Laos Will Issue Bonds in KIP

Food & Agriculture
Over 2,500 Villages Benefit From Poverty Reduction Fund
Lao rice consumers pay highest price in region
FAO is working for climate change adaptation in wetland areas of Lao PDR
PM Urges Agro Ministry To Continue To Attach Importance To Rural Development

Health & Life Sciences
Over 300 Industry Experts, Businesspeople Discuss Belt And Road Initiative For Biotechnology Industry
Use Of Modern Contraception Among Married Women Rises Slowly, Says A Study
World Population Day marked amid nation’s progress
Northern nutrition improvements get EU, AFD support
Lao Officials Say Rate of Child Stunting From Malnutrition Has Dropped Significantly
Laos Places 132nd On Status of Children Report
Drug abuse a danger as PM rekindles suppression drive
University of Health Sciences urging students to take up medicine
Child survival, nutrition, education efforts get results

Infrastructure
Many feared dead after Laos dam collapse
Critical Lao PDR Road To Be Improved And Maintained With World Bank Support
Laos Ranked 42nd Most Vulnerable Country to Climate Change

 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Laos, Myanmar enhance cooperation Vientiane Times 25th Jul 2018
Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith led a delegation to visit Myanmar on July 23-24 at the invitation of the Union Minister for International Cooperation, Mr U Kyaw Tin. At their meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, the two sides said they highly valued the friendly ties and long-standing tradition of close cooperation between the two neighbouring countries, which they said had been persistently strengthened. The development of close relations had been witnessed by regular exchanges of mutual visits at various levels including from high-ranking leaders and technical experts.

Malaysia Helps Improve Lao Technical Officials KPL: Lao News Agency 24th Jul 2018
More than 2,000 Lao officials have benefited from various programmes conducted since 1980 under the Malaysia Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP). “Annually, more than 80 specialized courses are offered by 80 MTCP training institutions, many of which are centers of excellence for training. Since its launching, more than participants from more than 140 countries including the Lao PDR have benefited from this programme,” Ambassador of Malaysia to Laos, Mr. Mohd Aini Atan told the MTCP Alumni during a Gathering at his Residence in Vientiane on Jul 23. “This year, 40 Lao officials will be trained in various fields under the MTCP in Malaysia,” said Mr. Mohd Aini.

National Affairs

Dam safety monitoring stepped up after Attapeu outpouring Vientiane Times 25th Jul 2018
The government of Laos has committed to keeping a close eye on the safety measures of all hydroelectric dams nationwide following the failure of a saddle dam at Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydropower reservoir in the southern province of Attapeu. The Ministry of Energy and Mines announced yesterday it ordered that the management of all hydropower dams stay on alert and keep a close eye on weather forecasts and manage rising levels of water in reservoirs. In addition, hydropower projects must report on their water management to the ministry regularly so that it will be in a position to come up with a plan to respond in case of emergency, the announcement stated.

Rescuers battle to search for 131 remaining missing: PM Vientiane Times 25th Jul 2018
Rescuers are battling to search for 131 villagers still missing since Monday night after the fracture of  Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydropower flooding villages in Attapeu province, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has said. The flooding, which submerged houses, was the biggest disaster in dozens of year in the country. “Impact of this flooding is enormous,” he told media in a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon after arriving in Vientiane from his trip to the flooding site in  Sanamxay district of the southern province.

PM Suspends Monthly Meeting, Leads Ministers To Flooded Sanamxay KPL: Lao News Agency 24th Jul 2018
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has suspended the planned monthly meeting of the government for August and led his cabinet members and other senior officials to Sanamxay to monitor rescue and relief efforts being made for flood victims. The collapse of the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam on Monday caused flash flooding in six villages of Sanamxay district including Yai Thae, Hinlad, Mai, Thasengchan, Tha Hin, and Samong. Hinlad and Mai villages were hard-hit.

Xe-Pian Dam Bursts its Banks Causing Catastrophic Damage The Laotian Times 24th Jul 2018
Attapeu provincial authorities have confirmed that the Xe-Pian Dam burst its banks yesterday, leading millions of tons of water to inundate the local area, and causing widespread damage. A letter of warning was sent on 23 July by the Head of the Resettlement Office of Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy Power Company, announcing that a part of its dam was likely to breech its banks, which would cause over five million tons of water to flow downstream. Now authorities have stated that there was an incident at the dam construction site at Xe Pian Xe Nam Noy, causing water to flow rapidly down to the villages in Sanamxay District, Attapeu.

Vientiane Authorities To Impose Ten-fold Fines On Drunk Drivers KPL Laos News Agency 20th Jul 2018
(VNA/KPL) Vientiane Authorities will soon commence imposing ten-fold fines on drunk drivers and speeding motorists in the capital, in a bid to reduce the frequency of road-related accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Vientiane Traffic Police Department Deputy Director Maj. Sangkhom Phommalath said police intend to apply greater enforcement of the law and firmly penalise those who violate traffic regulations

Prosperity of country, communities reliant on poverty reduction push: PM Vientiane Times 17th Jul 2018
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has called for efforts to ensure poverty and least-developed status can be eradicated from the country's rural areas, with the entire nation called upon to participate in the struggle. Mr Thongloun made the call in his address at the meeting held in the capital to disseminate the Government Decree no.348 on Poverty Graduation and Development Standards.

Government of Laos Responds to US Visa Restrictions The Laotian Times 13th Jul 2018
The Government of Laos has issued a response to the recent visa restrictions placed upon a number of citizens of Laos, which has caused confusion among Lao communities. The Trump administration has ordered suspension of the issuance of visas to certain citizens of Laos after the country refused to take back its persons deported from the United States.

US to Cease Issuing Visas to Laos Citizens Following Deportation Row The Laotian Times 11th Jul 2018
The Trump administration has ordered suspension of the issuance of visas to certain citizens of Laos after the country refused to take back its persons deported from the United States. The US Department of Homeland Security made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon, saying it had ordered the State Department to sanction visas for Laos and Myanmar because the two countries “have denied or unreasonably delayed accepting their nationals ordered removed.” US officials claim they had made diplomatic communications at the highest level of government in Laos before resorting to the heavy penalties.

Lao Gov’t, AFD Review Cooperation KPL: Laos News Agency 5th Jul 2018
The Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) held on Wednesday, Jul 4 a portfolio review, chaired by Dr Kikeo Chanthaboury, Vice Minister, and Ms Claudine Ledoux, French Ambassador to the Lao PDR. AFD is France’s inclusive public development bank, whose purpose is to provide financial and technical assistance to projects that genuinely improve everyday life, both in developing and emerging countries, with a particular focus on climate-friendly projects. The meeting was the occasion to acknowledge the recent signature of three financing agreements between AFD and MPI.

Defense & Security

Laos Receives Four Mi-17 Helicopters The Laotian Times 13th Jul 2018
Russian Helicopters, part of the Rostec State Corporation, has completed its first service contract to the Lao Ministry of Defence, transferring four repaired Mi-17 helicopters at an official handover ceremony on Wednesday. The ceremony was held at the Vientiane air base and was presided over by Lao Deputy Minister of Defence, Phouvong Vongphom, who inspected the helicopters. A crew from the Lao Air Force made a demonstration flight in the repaired helicopter during the event.

Economics

Trade Value Reaches US$ 1.76 Billion KPL: Lao News Agency 19th Jul 2018
The total value of trade in goods (import and export) for the last two months - May and June - was 1.76 billion US dollars with electricity, copper, and copper ores, outer parts of camera, electronics, electrums, and garment dominating the export list. The list of import items mainly comprised fuel, electronics, vehicles and parts and machinery, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Last month recorded the trade value of US$ 796.7 million, down by 17.8% from May, with export recorded at US$ 400.7 million, down by 10.8%.

PM Urges Strengthening Business Sector Through Law Improvement KPL: Lao News Agency 6th Jul 2018
While giving a guidance talk at the 11th Lao Business Forum on Jul 5, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith emphasized the importance of strengthening the business sector through the improvement of business-related laws and regulations adding that doing so could help achieve the national socio-economic development goals. He urged the relevant sectors to use the forum as a platform for determining and addressing effectively issues related to business establishment and expansion. The 11th Lao Business Forum was held on Jul 5 in Vientiane to promote public-private partnership.

Laos, Development Partners To Review Development Progress By November End KPL: Lao News Agency 28th Jun 2018
The Annual Round Table Meeting for the Mid-Term Review of the Implementation of the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan and progress in sustainable development and effective development cooperation will take place in Vientiane at the end of November 2018. The meeting will report key progress made in terms of the mid-term review of the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP), integration and localization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on the Lao PDR’s first national SDG Voluntary Review presented at high-level Political Forum at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA, in July 2018, results of the Least Developed Country (LDC) review in March 2018, and the implementation of the Vientiane Declaration on Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation and its Country Action Plan (VDCAP).

Energy

UNDP and Laos government working together for power grid Devdiscourse 20th Jul 2018
In support of the Lao government’s national rural electrification targets, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is looking into possible solutions for providing electricity to Kabong and its neighboring villages. The Ministry of Energy and Mines' Institute of Renewable Energy Promotion is implementing the project, supported by Germany and its International Climate Initiative IKI. On a recent mission to Kabong, it was determined that the communities would need more reliable and stable power sources than what solar power home systems can supply. The Ministry of Energy and Mines is now looking into whether it’s possible to combine solar power with another solution. A mini-hydro plant is in the discussion, generating power from the natural precipitation of a small river behind the village. This way, the power supply would be guaranteed regardless of the weather.

Lao government advised to boost renewable energy investment vietnamplus.vn 16th Jul 2018
Vientiane (VNA) – The Lao government has been advised to invest in renewable energy, as the country holds great potential to develop environmentally-friendly power. Mekong Watch, a Japanese non-profit organisation based in Tokyo, proposed that the Lao government encourage private companies’ investment in renewable energy development, especially wind, solar and biomass energy, to replace hydroelectricity projects.  The construction of dams on Laos’ rivers and the Mekong River in its territory has adversely impacted the environment and the livelihoods of people in the lower Mekong region, according to the organisation.

Financial Services

Lao central bank faces challenges in stabilizing exchange rate Xinhua 21st Jul 2018
The Bank of the Lao PDR looks set to face a big challenge in keeping the value of the kip against the U.S. dollar stable, as the local market is ignoring the official reference currency exchange rate, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Saturday. A number of currency exchange units in Lao capital Vientiane were on Friday offering an exchange rate of about 8,700 kip per U.S. dollar, which is obviously higher than the reference exchange rate set by the Bank of the Lao PDR, the Lao central bank.

Laos' tiny bourse still struggles after all these years Nikkei Asian Review 18th Jul 2018
The Lao Securities Exchange wants to increase the number of listed companies from the current seven to 25 or 35 by 2020, but experts are skeptical. Since the bourse launched in 2011, no more than two companies per year have gone public, making a fourfold or fivefold increase over such a short time frame a challenge.

Laos Will Issue Bonds in KIP The Laotian Times 2nd Jul 2018
The Lao government has announced that it will issue domestic bonds in LAK (kip) – instead of foreign currencies – with a two-pronged objective aimed at avoiding risks linked to the exchange rate and strengthening the domestic capital market. According to the Ministry of Finance, under this scheme, the payment of interest will be made to internal bond holders, which is expected to make capital circulate within the domestic economy. The government has issued bonds of 3,300 billion kip (approximately US$392 million) through the national treasury to finance its budget deficit.

Food & Agriculture

Over 2,500 Villages Benefit From Poverty Reduction Fund Lao News Agency 2nd Jul 2018
Over 2,500 villages in rural areas of fifty five districts have reportedly benefited from the Poverty Reduction Fund since 2002. The statement was made at the mid-term review meeting of the Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF) Phase III in Vientiane on Jun 22, 2018 in the presence of Mr Chit Thavisay, Director of the PRF, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Mr Erik Johnson, Mission Leader of Mid Term Review and relevant officials.

Lao rice consumers pay highest price in region Xinhua 2nd Jul 2018
Local Lao consumers are paying one of the highest prices for rice in the region even though Laos is a significant rice producer, local daily Vientiane Times on Thursday quoted the latest edition of the World Bank's Lao Economic Monitor as saying. Rice is the country's biggest agricultural commodity and most farmers still produce paddy rice in Laos. The crop covers about 75 percent of arable land in the country and 90 percent of the production is sticky rice.

FAO is working for climate change adaptation in wetland areas of Lao PDR Devdiscourse 30th Jun 2018
FAO is working for Climate Adaptation in Wetland Areas of Lao PDR.  Lao PDR is intimately associated with one of the world’s major wetlands with the Mekong River system. The Mekong basin covers 88% of the country.  The project will use an ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) approach, whereby the ability of the wetlands to buffer local people livelihoods against Climate Change impacts will be safeguarded through a combination of improved planning and governance conditions, direct investments in climate change adaptation measures and some activities to strengthen their livelihood.

PM Urges Agro Ministry To Continue To Attach Importance To Rural Development KPL Laos News Agency 20th Jul 2018
(KPL) Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has urged the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and its agencies nationwide to continue to attach importance to rural development and poverty reduction to ensure better living conditions of local people and national graduation from the list of least developed countries. Giving guidance talks at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry meeting on the implementation of Decree No 348 on poverty graduation and development standards on Jul 17 in Vientiane, Prime Minister expressed appreciations upon efforts and achievements made and recorded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry over the past couple of years especially on rural development and poverty reduction adding that their efforts have resulted in numerous changes in rural communities, contributing significantly to the national safeguarding and development causes.

Health & Life Sciences

Over 300 Industry Experts, Businesspeople Discuss Belt And Road Initiative For Biotechnology Industry KPL Laos News Agency 17th Jul 2018
(KPL) More than 300 industry experts and business elites from China and the ASEAN region discussed the opportunities and challenges on the Belt and Road Initiative for the biotechnology industry. The International Conference for Managing Asia Century (ICMAC) Linking One Belt One Road with Smart Biotech was held in Xiamen, Fujian Province, China.

Use Of Modern Contraception Among Married Women Rises Slowly, Says A Study KPL Laos News Agency 17th Jul 2018
According to the Lao Social Indicator Survey (LSIS II) launched in June this year, the use of modern contraceptive method among married women aged 15-49 increased slowly from 42% in 2011 to 49% in 2017. Unmet need for Modern Contraceptives (mCPR) among married women aged 15-49 has declined from 19.2% to 14.3%, and 75% among unmarried women aged 15-19 still cannot access Family Planning.

World Population Day marked amid nation’s progress Vientiane Times 17th Jul 2018
The Ministry of Planning and Investment and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to Laos yesterday held a joint workshop to celebrate the World Population Day 2018. This year, the celebration of World Population Day with the theme “Family Planning for everyone”, sees more people exercise their rights to plan for their own families as well as their futures.

Northern nutrition improvements get EU, AFD support Vientiane Times 17th Jul 2018
The European Union (EU) and French Agency for Development (AFD) have forecast a budget of over 5.7 million euros in assistance from 2018-2022 for a project to support nutrition-sensitive agriculture in northern Laos. The support was confirmed yesterday at a meeting to review cooperation between the Lao government and AFD which was attended by Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, Dr Kikeo Chanthaboury and French Ambassador to the Lao PDR, Ms Claudine Ledoux.

Lao Officials Say Rate of Child Stunting From Malnutrition Has Dropped Significantly Radio Free Asia 16th Jul 2018
Despite a recent report by an NGO promoting children’s rights that indicated Laos performed poorly last year in dealing with childhood malnutrition and stunted growth, Lao officials have painted a rosier picture of the situation. U.S.-based Save the Children’s report titled “The Many Faces of Exclusion” ranks 175 countries based on a range of indicators related to childhood, including chronic malnutrition, stunted physical growth, child marriage, and adolescent pregnancy. In the report released at the end of May, Laos fell two places to 132nd beneath regional neighbors Thailand (85), Vietnam (96), and the Philippines (104).

Laos Places 132nd On Status of Children Report Laotian Times 6th Jul 2018
Save the Children launched a new global report, ‘The Many Faces of Exclusion’ where it ranked countries based on a range of indicators related to childhood. More than 1.2 billion children – over half the world’s children – live in countries affected by conflict, widespread poverty or discrimination against girls, significantly reducing their chances to learn, grow or reach their potential.

Drug abuse a danger as PM rekindles suppression drive Vientiane Times 2nd Jul 2018
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has called for a collective national effort to join with the international community in the fight against the illicit drug trade and decrease substance abuse. In his statement delivered to mark the 31st anniversary of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (June 26, 1987 – June 26, 2018), the premier underlined the need to combat the illicit trade and abuse. He described drug abuse and illicit trafficking as a threat to global citizens as it is the root cause of crime and corruption undermining socio-economic development of countries across the globe.

University of Health Sciences urging students to take up medicine Vientiane Times 2nd Jul 2018
Authorities are encouraging students to enrol in the bachelor of medicine programme at the University of Health Sciences for the new academic year to meet the country’s growing healthcare needs. University of Health Sciences will accept an intake of 379 students to study its 12 majors in various fields for 2018-2019, including nine majors for bachelor degrees and three for higher diplomas courses. Deputy Head of the university’s office, Dr Khamprasong Setthavanxay disclosed details of the new student intake to Vientiane Times.

Child survival, nutrition, education efforts get results Vientiane Times 2nd Jul 2018
The government will strive to work closely with development partners and international organisations to ensure every child survives, attain better nutrition and education. Progress was noted in the Lao social indicator survey II (LSIS- II). The survey is an initiative of Lao Statistics Bureau and the Ministry of Planning and Investment in cooperation with the nation’s ministries of Health and Education and Sports, with technical and supported by UNICEF and UNFPA.

Infrastructure

Many feared dead after Laos dam collapse BBC News 24th Jul 2018
At least 20 people have been killed and more than 100 are missing in flooding following the collapse of an under-construction dam in south-east Laos. Workers found the hydroelectric dam in Attapeu province was partially damaged on Sunday, and villagers living nearby were evacuated. The dam collapsed late on Monday, sending flash floods through six villages. More than 6,600 people have been made homeless, Lao News Agency reported.

Critical Lao PDR Road To Be Improved And Maintained With World Bank Support KPL: Lao News Agency 23rd Jul 2018
More than 500,000 people living adjacent to sections of National Road 13 will benefit from the improvements planned in the National Road 13 Improvement and Maintenance Project. The agreement for the project was signed on July 23, 2018 by the Vice Minister of Finance Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, and the World Bank Country Manager Nicola Pontara. The project will improve the condition, safety, and climate resilience of critical sections of National Road 13, Lao PDR’s most important corridor, which is integral to domestic and regional connectivity.

Laos Ranked 42nd Most Vulnerable Country to Climate Change The Laotian Times 10th Jul 2018
Laos has been ranked as the 42nd most vulnerable country to climate change. This is due to the country’s proneness to climate-related hazards. Laos’ susceptibility to natural disasters manifested again last week with flooding in Phongsaly province. Several districts suffered from the loss of crops, breaking of irrigation canals and flooding of homes. This week, the UN System in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare is rolling out training in Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) as part of capacity building to strengthen resilience to climate impacts and disasters.