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NA, Oxfam launch citizen engagement project

The National Assembly and Oxfam have launched a joint project designed to enhance the capacity building of central and local law-making bodies to interact with constituents and hear their concerns. 
Director General of the Assembly’s International Cooperation and Project Management Secretariat, Dr Bounthanh Bounvilay, and Country Director of Oxfam in Laos, Mr Thibaut Hanquet, yesterday delivered speeches to open a workshop marking the start of the Partnership for Citizen Engagement (PACE) project, which will run until 2021. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop at the Lao Plaza Hotel, Mr Bounthanh said this first workshop enabled representatives from the National Assembly, Provincial People’s Assemblies, and relevant stakeholders to learn about the aims of the project.
In addition, workshop participants, particularly from the selected six Provincial People’s Assemblies in Huaphan, Bokeo, Vientiane, Xekong, Saravan and Attapeu, would learn how to develop constituent engagement and budget plans in line with government regulations and donor guidelines.
The European Union and Oxfam have allocated a budget of about US$744,000 for the PACE project, which is designed to help the central and provincial people’s assemblies improve their capacity in holding dialogues with their constituents.
It is believed that improved and strengthened interaction between assembly members and citizens will provide important inputs for assemblies to initiate interventions that are more relevant to the needs of local citizens and the current development context.
Under the Constitution, the National Assembly is a part of the Lao system of governance.
Serving as the highest state body it represents all Lao people and enables them to exercise their right to make decisions concerning fundamental issues. The Assembly also has the right to consider and approve proposed laws.   
Mr Hanquet said the project was designed to enhance the ability of Lao citizens to engage in dialogue and ultimately build a better understanding of their needs across a range of stakeholders with a focus on Provincial People’s Assembly representatives, mass organisations, and civil society.
 “With support from the PACE project, Lao citizens will work hand in hand with the government of the Lao PDR to help eradicate poverty and graduate from Least Developed Country status,” he added.
The project will support good governance and enhance the rule of law, with both contributing to inclusive growth and poverty reduction in Laos, Mr Hanquet said.

By Ekaphone Phouthonesy
(Latest Update July 9, 2019)

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