Governance and Public Administration Reform (GPAR)

Project completed
Local administration office, Lao PDR. © SDC.

Since 1997, the government of Lao PDR has worked to build a public administration capable of achieving the country’s development goals. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has supported these efforts since 2003

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Laos
Governance
Decentralisation
Public sector policy
13.03.2012 - 31.12.2016
CHF 4'850'000
Background

In Lao PDR, half the rural poor live in seven chronically poor provinces. One fifth of all Lao villages still do not have a school, fewer girls than boys go to school, infants and mothers are at high risk of dying during childbirth, and less than eight percent of villages have a health centre. The rural poor, who live in remote districts and villages, most acutely experience these shortcomings. The Governance and Public Administration Reform Programme (GPAR), supported by SDC since 2003, works to improve the delivery of public services, such as education and healthcare, so as to improve the lives of the Lao people and alleviate poverty.

Reform of the public administration has been on the Lao PDR Government’s agenda since the 1990s. In 1997, the government launched the GPAR programme, in response to limited capacity and accountability in the public administration. The program was established with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and designed to enable the public administration to deliver better, more accessible public services to citizens.

In 2011, the Lao government and its development partners launched the new National GPAR Programme, continuing the efforts to improve service delivery. SDC supports three program components that particularly focus on strengthening the capacity of local public administration to provide more responsive public services to the rural poor.

Objectives

The National GPAR programme seeks to improve the lives of Lao citizens, especially the poor and vulnerable, through increased access to more responsive public services.

Results

Expected results:  

It is expected that the Ministry of Home Affairs, as a result of the programme, will continue to further improve the public administration’s delivery of services to Lao citizens, contributing better health, better education, and less poverty, especially among the rural poor, women and girl children.

Specifically, SDC’s support is expected to result in improved public service regulations in 140 districts administration across Lao PDR; improved skills of 1,210 civil servants; improved access to services for 40,000 households; improved availability of education and health services; and new, improved coordination and leadership of the governance reform at the national level.


Results from previous phases:  

As a result of the GPAR programme, ongoing since 1997, the governance sector in Lao PDR has already been transformed.

The programme has strengthened the public administration’s capacity to plan, finance, manage, and monitor governance reform. It has also enabled civil servants to deliver services to Lao citizens in effective, accountable, and transparent ways, allowing the public administration to increasingly fulfill its role in alleviating poverty and achieving national development goals.

Additionally, the programme has created a space to debate and discuss governance, historically known as a sensitive topic in Lao PDR. As a result of the programme, the Ministry of Home Affairs has become the central driver of governance reforms.

 

In the past five years, the programme has:

  • Strengthened the delivery of public services as well as the strategic oversight of the governance sector.
  • Reinforced the development and management of the Lao civil service, which with more than 130,000 staff is the main agency that delivers services to Lao citizens.
  • Strengthened the public administration’s capacity to deliver services at the local level, for example by giving small grants in 35 districts, which resulted in 300 small projects that improved healthcare, education, agriculture, road access, and economic activity for more than 200,000 people.
  • Improved the access to public services by establishing one-stop service centers, which have proven to be a faster, more transparent, and more accountable way of delivering services, in ten provinces.


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • United Nations Development Programme


Other partners

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   4'850'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   4'091'713
Project phases Phase 4 01.08.2017 - 31.07.2021   (Current phase)

Phase 3 13.03.2012 - 31.12.2016   (Completed)

Phase 2 01.06.2007 - 31.12.2011   (Completed)