In a major new initiative, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) today launched two projects worth US$13.7 million supported by UNDP, UNCDF, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Republic of Korea. The two projects will be part of the Government’s programme for Governance and Public Administration Reform during 2011-2015. These projects build on the strong foundation laid by the GPAR Support for Better Service Delivery project which concluded today. The official signing ceremony of the two new projects was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Asang Laoly. Also in attendance were development partners and officials from different ministries.
Addressing the meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Asang Laoly, reiterated the government’s commitment to governance reforms. He drew attention to the manner in which these projects are aligned to the Breakthrough Strategy defined by the 9th Part Congress. Noting the emphasis that the Service Delivery Project placed on building capacity at the local level, he pointed out that this will provide a good foundation for several other initiatives of the government and other development projects.
Sharing information on these two projects, the Vice Minister of Home Affairs, Dr. Khammoune Viphongxay described the new projects as part of a programmatic effort of the Government to strengthen governance and facilitate better service delivery. The GPAR Programme Secretariat Support project will help the Government and Ministry of Home Affairs to facilitate, coordinate and oversee the growing portfolio of projects in this sector. The second project, on Strengthening Capacity and Service Delivery of Local Administrations, will work across 66 districts and enhance service delivery for the poor, especially in rural areas, through improved capacity of local administration and block grants. Other important initiatives by this project will be support to expand the network of One Door Service Centres to cover 70 districts, and help set in place mechanisms through which local administrations and communities can track improvements in service delivery.
The Minister for Home Affairs, Mr. Khampane Philavong highlighted that the project on Strengthening Capacity and Service Delivery of Local Administrations will be one of the largest development assistance interventions in Lao PDR, in terms of its scale of work scale and coverage of districts. He saw this project as extremely timely, since it will immediately operationalize the directions on strengthening the district administrations. The Programme Secretariat would help the Ministry to work with the entire community of development partners and related ministries to facilitate an active Governance Sector Working Group, better harmonize development assistance in the sector.
Encouraging development partners to join force in supporting this important national programme, Mr. Minh Pham, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, informed the gathering that “this programme is not only about mobilizing resources for implementing activities. It is about making a difference in people’s lives, about equitable development, improved quality of governance and services.”
Ms. Ruth Huber, Regional Director for the Swiss cooperation office in the Mekong Region, saw the GPAR Programme addressing the challenges in capacity and service delivery of local administrations, and bringing government organizations closer to citizens, thereby making significant contributions toward achieving the MDG’s.
A series of related projects are being established under the National GPAR Programme. The upcoming projects will address priorities such as human resource management and capacity building in the civil service, providing an enabling institutional environment for Non-Profit Associations, and clarifying the mandates and systems in the administration.