UN System and Agenda in the Lao PDR

Mission Statement

We, the United Nations Country Team in the Lao PDR, are determined to support the national development goal of eradicating mass poverty through sustainable and equitable socio-economic development with a human perspective. Our mission is to help the Government and people of the Lao PDR in their fight against poverty by addressing the multi-facetted causes of poverty from the policy-making and community levels, ensuring rights-based approach to development, supporting the sustainable use of natural resources and preservation of cultural heritage, and promoting human rights, gender equality and good governance.

Guided by the national development needs and priorities, the global Millennium Development Goals, and principles embodied in the UN Charter and other fundamental UN instruments, we will strive to provide the best advice and strengthen national institutional and human resource capacities and ownership. We will target our assistance at the most vulnerable and poor, in particular women, children and youth, and rural population.

While supporting the Lao PDR's development goals, we are committed to using this UN Development Assistance Framework process as an opportunity for closer collaboration among the Government, UN System, Bretton Woods Institutions, ADB, and a broader development community: bilateral donors, international NGOs, mass organization, civil society and the private sector.

Respecting the specific identities and mandates of our organizations, we aim to improve our coordination, effectiveness and efficiency, to reinforce the impact of our assistance, and to provide the best possible service to the Government and people of the Lao PDR.

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UN Country Team

The United Nations System in the Lao PDR is represented by a number of UN funds and specialized agencies operating in the country, including UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, UNFPA, FAO, UNODC, WHO, ILO, UNIDO and joint UN programme on HIV/AIDS - UNAIDS. It also includes specialized agencies with development operations in the Lao PDR, which have their offices based in the region (including Thailand, Vietnam and Japan), as well as in Italy: UNESCO, UNHCR, OHCHR, UN Habitat, OCHA, UNCTAD, ITC, UNCRD, and IFAD. UNV, UNIFEM and UNCDF in the Lao PDR are represented by the UNDP Resident Representative. The UN System collaborates closely with the two Bretton Woods Institutions - IMF and the World Bank, as well as the Asian Development Bank. The Representatives of all these organizations constitute the UN Country Team in the Lao PDR. The UN Economic, Social Commission for Asia Pacific (ESCAP) is also a non-resident member of the UN Country Team.

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Resident Coordination and Office of the Resident Coordinator

As the designated representative of the Secretary-General and team leader of United Nations System organizations, the Resident Coordinator assumes the overall responsibility for, and the coordination of, the operational activities for the development of the UN System at the country level.

The Office of the Resident Coordinator based at UNDP provides support to the Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team, serving to facilitate day-to-day collaboration, joint initiatives, and implementation of the UN Programme for Reform. The Office of the Resident Coordinator organizes monthly coordination meetings, ensures that pertinent UN information flows to all UN agencies operating in the Lao PDR, monitors functioning of the UN theme/working groups and, as a priority task, supports the CCA/UNDAF preparation and follow-up processes as key instruments of the Secretary-General's program of reform.

In the Lao PDR, as in the majority of developing countries, the Resident Representative of UNDP is designated as the Resident Coordinator of the UN System.

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Coordination Mechanisms

The UN Country Team in the Lao PDR employs several regular mechanisms for inter-agency coordination and collaboration to ensure more integrated, complementary action at the country level related to both programme and administrative matters. The two key tools in its coordination efforts are:

  1. The Common Country Assessment (CCA 2006), an instrument that analyses the national development situation and identifies key development issues in the country; and
  2. The UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF 2007-2011), a 5-year operational plan for the UN system.

On the programme side, the main instruments for UN collaboration include the monthly UN Country Team (UNCT) meetings, and the UN theme/working groups. On the administrative side, the UN agency senior administrative officers comprise the Operations Management Team and meet monthly to discuss and streamline administrative/ operational procedures. The UN Security Management Team (SMT) chaired by the UN Designated Official for Security also meets on a monthly basis, to review and coordinate issues pertaining to the UN staff safety and security, medical evacuation and travel arrangements etc. The Office of the Resident Coordinator provides support to both programme and administrative aspects of UN cooperation, with a primary focus on facilitating collaborative programming and implementation of the UN Programme for Reform.

Furthermore, the UNCT has established inter-agency/Government sectoral groups that convene on specific issues such as MDG reporting, preparation and implementation/monitoring of the next CCA/UNDAF. They also meet with other partners (donors, NGOs) on broader UN issues, information exchange and policy dialogue.

The UN Resident Coordinator also seeks to enhance donor coordination and strengthen partnership activities with the Lao Government, improve aid effectiveness through better alignment of aid activity, identify partnership opportunities and share information about donor activities. Key mechanisms for this include informal quarterly donor coordination meetings and sectoral and cross-sectoral working groups.

The UNCT has established an inter-agency task force comprised of WHO, FAO, UNICEF, the WB and ADB and, the Office of the Resident Coordinator to help the Government control and prepare for an Avian and Human Influenza epidemic. This task force works together with the Government on the development and implementation of a national plan on avian influenza control and pandemic preparedness.

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