The Sector Working Groups
The ten Sector Working Groups (SWGs) are the key coordination platforms for each thematic area of development in Lao PDR’s Round Table Process. They are led by the Government and include donors, civil society organisations and representatives from the private sector.
The groups serve as discussion forums, aim build consensus on development priorities, and make development cooperation more effective, as set out in the Vientiane Declaration of 2015.
A relevant Ministry Chairs each group, and a development partner, based on their expertise, Co-Chairs.
The Department for International Cooperation (DIC) in the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) serves as an overall coordinating agency. The Department also manages the meetings of SWG Chairs and Co-Chairs.
This SWG mechanism was formed in 2005 when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the Government’s wish to merge the existing donor and government working groups.
Since then the joint Government-donor SWG mechanism has served as an operational tool for the merging of the NGPES (the first Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper as classified by the World Bank) with the NSEDP process.
In June 2005, Lao PDR had Eight Sector Working Groups to support the formulation, implementation and monitoring the NSEDP 2006-2010. These were:
A series of changes have occurred since 2005. In March 2007, a review of the SWGs was conducted by UNDP on request from the Government.. The review provided recommendations to improve the mechanism and to better respond to the needs of the Government and the development community. The recommendations were taken into consideration to sharpen roles and mandates of each group.
Since early 2008, DIC has consulted with Line Ministries and Development Partners to facilitate internal reorganization and the strengthening of SWGs. This has included the preparation of annual work plans for each group, which should be linked to the Round Table Process.
In 2012, in line with the country’s needs and after extensive consultations, the Government expand the groups from eight to ten.