|What are the Poverty Reduction Fund and the National Growth and Poverty Eradication Strategy?|
The Poverty Reduction Fund is the vehicle by which revenues from hydropower projects will be channelled by the government into the priority development sectors and projects identified in the National Growth and Poverty Eradication Strategy (NGPES).
The NGPES is central to the government's core long-term objective of freeing Laos from the status of least-developed country (LDC) by 2020. The NGPES forms a comprehensive framework for growth and development, with a particular focus on poverty alleviation in the country's poorest districts, and is designed to accelerate the current trend in reducing poverty in Lao PDR.
The NGPES has been systematically developed by the government since early 2000 on the basis of extensive consultation with the donor and NGO communities and, crucially, Lao citizens at all levels. It presents a comprehensive framework for growth and development, and has a particular focus on alleviating poverty in the poorest 47 of the country's 72 districts.
The four main sectors of the NGPES are agriculture/forestry, education, health and infrastructure, especially rural roads.
The NGPES also identifies a number of supporting sectors that may fuel future growth. These are emerging industrial development through energy and rural electrification, agro-forestry, tourism, mining and the construction materials industry.
Three poverty-related national programs - the National Drug Control Program, the Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) Decontamination Program and the National Action Plan for HIV/AIDS/STD - complete the NGPES 'sector-based' operational framework.
Nationally, areas with the highest rate of poverty include the provinces of Houaphan, Oudomxay, Phongsaly, Luang Namtha, Xieng Khouang, Xaysomboun Special Zone, Luang Prabang, Xekong, Saravan and Attapeu.