Knowledge for Development (K4D) Laos

Farmers transplanting rice in the northern part of Laos
Farmers transplanting rice in the northern part of Laos. Photo: Michael Epprecht

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:

  1. To enhance continuous cross-sectoral and vertical integration of detailed national information from a broad range of thematic sectors.
  2. To develop and feed into the national policy dialogue new knowledge that informs key strategic decisions and policies in support of a smooth graduation from the country’s status of one of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and for reaching the targets of the global 2030 Agenda.

Main results

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.

  1. On the public national development information platform, a wide range of key national datasets are shared by various departments of several ministries, and are accessed and used by a range of users from the government, the universities in Laos, as well as from various development partner organizations, international researchers, and individuals.
  2. The public provincial Savannakhet Development Information platform provides easy access to thematically integrated geographic information layers on a wide range of topics, combined with online tools that can help to guide important decisions on land management. The platform development was a joint endeavor with the SAFE Ecosystems project of UNDP in Laos.
  3. The national land concessions information system LCIS is a web-based, government internal information sharing and integration platform. It seeks to compile and integrate spatial, statistical, and documentary information on all land concessions throughout Laos, that have been granted at either national, provincial, or district level. Currently, the information base focusses on concessions in the sectors of agriculture, tree plantation, hydropower, mining, and special economic zones.

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.

Duration 2018 – 2022

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Partners Lao Academy for Social and Economic Sciences (LASES), formerly National Institute for Economic Research (NIER)
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Lao PDR
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE), Lao PDR
Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), Lao PDR
Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM, Lao PDR
Ministry of Finance (MoF), Lao PDR
Further information CDE Spotlight 
Press release
Contact Dr. Michael Epprecht, CDE Country Office in Laos
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