Pro-net 21 participated in the National Conference on the Cooperation between the Lao PDR and International NGOs in Laos
On February 6th,"the 1st National Conference on the Cooperation between the Lao PDR(*1) and INGOs (International INGOs) " was held by the initiative of Ministry of Foregin Affairs in Laos. As a local representative of Pro-net 21, Mr. Shimazaki participated in the conference.

The outline of the conference is as follows.


Approximately 200 people participated in the conference. Participants from the Laos side include Dr,Thongloun, Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was a chairman of the conference, deputy governors of each province, represenatives of each Ministry iDr.Phouang Parisak, head of Department of Planning participated in as a representative of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestryj, representatives of donorsiMr.Gil-Hon, country director of ADB(*2)jAambassadors of the countries with strong relations with NGOs' activities such as Australia and EU representative in Laos. As for the INGO-related participants, about half (80) of 160 INGOs, which are conducting activities in Laos, participated in the conference.

Process and purposes of the conferenceF

This is the first conference for INGOs held by Laos government (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) since the establishment of the new government in 1975.

In the conference, NGOs' activities conducted in Laos were reviewed by the Laos sideiincluding good evaluation and the subjectsj, and by the representatives of INGOs, the outline of the activities was explained and the opinions were exchanged. The detailed purpose of the conference is to revise the"Decree of the Prime Minister on the Administration of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the Lao PDR (PM Decree No.71)", which has been issued in April 1998, in order to facilitate the cooperative relation between the Laos PDR and INGOs.

Remarks of Dr.Phouang Parisak, head of Department of PlanningF

In the remarks of Dr.Phouang Parisak as a representative of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, promotion activities of SRI supported by Pro-net 21 were mentioned as a good example of the activities of agriculture-related INGO.

On the other hand, as the subject of NGOs' activities, the following was pointed out:

1) Sufficient cooperative works are not conducted with govenment officials at the stage of project planning and designing

2) Sustainability of the project after its implementation is not fully considered

3) With the limited budjet, the period of projects is short though agriculture require plenty of time

4)Effective cooperation has not been established though many NGOs hasthe same kinds of activities, and

5) Mainly because of lack of the mutual understandings, difference of opinions between government staff and NGO staff has occured.

In terms of the above subjects pointed out by Dr.Phouang Parisak, Pro-net 21 fully consider them in the activities.

*1. Lao PDR: Lao People's Democratic Republic
*2. ADB: Asian Development Bank

ƒExplanation about SRI to participants„ ƒDr. Thongloun with rorary weeder at the exhibition booth„
ƒPeople from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Laos and representatives of INGOs„
ƒMr. Shimazaki at the exhibition booth„