EU has launched two new programmes worth €55 million on nutrition and sustainable growth. The two new programmes are:
- The ASEAN Regional Integration Support-Lao PDR Trade-Related Assistance (Arise Plus) programme, especially addressed to smallholders and SMEs. The programme, worth €5 million, provides trade related assistance to promote more sustainable, broad-based and inclusive growth, which is also more resilient to climate change.
- EU Nutrition Budget Support programme to facilitate access to safe and nutritious food, worth €50 million.
Commissioner Mimica said, “These new programmes worth €55 million reaffirm our strong commitment as reliable and long-term partner for the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. We will continue to support the Lao government in assisting the most vulnerable communities. Together, we are investing in a diversified and sustainable economy that protects our environment and tackles inequalities.”
This is the first-ever visit of a European Commissioner to the country since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the EU and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 1975. This visit will serve as a chance to further strengthen political relations, highlight the achievements of bilateral cooperation and lay the foundations for future EU support to the country.
The EU has consolidated its role as a leading development partner of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in the Education and Nutrition sectors. Today, the country’s three focal sectors are education, nutrition and governance. The EU also supports the promotion of civil society.
These important areas of reform have witnessed significant achievements, such as: increased access to primary and lower secondary education (99.1% and 83.1% respectively in 2019) and a reduction in stunting rates of children under-five years old (from 44% in 2011 to 33% in 2018).