Continued sharing and integration of information across thematic sectors and administrative levels is an essential basis for the establishment and maintenance of a comprehensive information and knowledge base that can inform planning and decision-making towards sustainable development.
The Lao Knowledge for Development (K4D) project aims at supporting this through institutionalizing information sharing, integration and analysis processes, developing respective capacities, and promoting knowledge generation and uptake through active engagement in science-policy dialogue processes.
The project builds on the achievements of the Lao DECIDE info project which sought to stimulate data and information sharing between relevant sectors and administrative levels to improve evidence-based socio-economic planning and decision-making in Lao PDR.
The K4D project has two mutually dependent and complementary main objectives:
The K4D project developed three new web-based information management platforms for different purposes. It created capacities in relevant partner institutions to manage and use these systems, and realized the physical and institutional hosting of the systems by the relevant partner institutions of the Lao government.
The new platforms fostered the emergence of a more open data sharing culture within the government of Laos, and greatly facilitated the institutionalization of processes for data sharing and integration among key government agencies. The resulting and continuously evolving nationally integrated information bases are key sources of insights that inform current development and land management policies and decisions.
As a direct consequence of the project’s active engagement in providing new knowledge and insights into on-going land management policy discourses, the government issued orders to further investigate 438 concessions with extremely poor performance, and instructed relevant offices to continue the information integration and monitoring works throughout the country.
As a result of the ordered investigations, the government agreed to terminate concession agreements of many investments and issued concrete instructions to other investors to improve their performance. Another significant impact of this work includes the government decision of 2018 to extend the moratorium on some large-scale mining and tree plantation concessions.
Further, the National Assembly has included the inspection of land concessions as part of the National Agenda for addressing the economic and financial difficulties and instructed the government to investigate all existing concessions to ensure that they pay all fees and taxes.
Such active science-policy engagement towards evidence-informed development planning and decision-making was promoted through the project in various ways. Through multi-stakeholder consultation processes, key development challenges by the country were jointly identified, and respective knowledge gaps were detected and approached with targeted research activities. The project was thereby able to promote multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral analytical work. The research results and recommendations were presented and discussed during multi-stakeholder dialogue events with participants from various government sectors and administrative levels, as well as from development partner organizations.
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)