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Identifying Policy Gaps to Undertake Structural Transformation in Lao PDR

19 May 2021

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Vientiane, 19 May 2021: Hosted jointly by the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Centre for Development Policy Research (CDR) of Lao PDR, ERIA’s Capacity Building Programme held a two-day online workshop, ‘Vulnerability Analysis: Challenges and Policy Gaps in the Structural Transformation of Lao PDR’, on 18-19 May. The workshop discussed key policy gaps for Lao PDR as it undertakes structural transformation in response to the pandemic and post-pandemic periods. 

Attended by 25 officials from a wide range of ministries and agencies, the workshops were led Dr Shandre Thangavelu from the University of Adelaide’s Institute of International Trade and the Jeffrey Cheah Institute of Southeast Asia, Sunway University. In his welcoming remarks, Mr Jeremy Gross, ERIA’s Director of Capacity Building, highlighted the importance of structural transformation to address competitiveness, with key issues revolving around institutional and human capital reform. He also thanked the Centre for Development Policy Research as co-host.

The first session of the workshop elaborated upon the main aspects of vulnerability analysis: the identification of policy gaps, structural gaps and risk analysis. The second session focused on structural transformation strategy and the need to design a policy framework that balances the public and private good for overcoming the disruptive effects of the pandemic. Strategies and challenges to mitigate supply and demand activities in the global value chain were discussed in the third session, whilst the final session focused on the importance of regionalism, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership to recover from the pandemic.

Participants raised questions ranging from available mechanisms to monitor behavioural changes in response to the impact of the pandemic, strategies relating to human resources, labour, open borders and food security. 

Deputy Director-General Sisavanh Didaravong closed the workshop by expressing her gratitude to ERIA’s Capacity Building Programme, and the Australian Government for supporting it, noting the emergence of valuable policy recommendations and the identification of policy responses raised in the workshop. 

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