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Transitioning Towards Circular Economy: A Workshop for Lao PDR Policymakers

11 May 2023

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Vientiane, 11-12 May 2023: The transition towards circular economy (CE) presents a unique opportunity for fast-growing ASEAN economies to be resource efficient, competitive, and innovative. With the adoption of the ASEAN Circular Economy Framework in 2021, the region has an ambitious, long-term vision for the circular economy, building on the strengths of existing initiatives and priority areas for implementation. Whilst the Framework serves as an important baseline for the region, the success of CE will depend on how ASEAN countries are able to push more circular thinking and innovation based on policy approaches and market trends.

To respond to this need in timely manner, ERIA Capacity Building Program, building on the work of the Policy Design Department, held a two-day workshop to support Lao PDR officials to learn appropriate policy approaches towards the implementation of CE. The workshop brought together different ministries focusing on this issue to discuss and share their CE related initiatives. The workshop was co-hosted with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC) and held with Australian Government support for the ERIA Capacity Building Program.

Thirty participants joined the workshop with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the Ministry of Energy and Mines in addition to MOIC.

In the opening session, Mr Yasuhiro Yamada, Special Assistant to ERIA President on Mekong Affairs, shared his remarks on the importance of policymakers’ ability to design and plan circular economy strategies.  Mr Robin Flint, First Secretary of the Australian Embassy in Lao PDR, underlined how collaboration for open innovation and technological exchange will be key to delivering successful CE programs and initiatives. Echoing this sentiment, Mr Saysana SAYAKONE, Director General of the Foreign Trade Department at MOIC called for strong coordination across ministries to further push the implementation of existing domestic strategies, for instance such as the National Green Growth Strategy of Lao PDR.  

The workshop delivered four CE modules with each of modules containing reading materials, a case study, group discussion and a presentation. At the end of the workshop, participants were divided into group and presented their policy initiatives related to CE. The materials were delivered by Dr Norasikin Ahmad Ludin, Deputy Director, Solar Energy, Research Institute (SERI), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and co-facilitated by Dr Aloun Phonvisay, an expert on natural resources, environment and development in Lao PDR.

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