The Singaporean Embassy hosted in Vientiane late last month a reception for the Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP) alumni to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the technical assistance programme.
Vice President of the National Assembly Sounthone Xayachack, Minister and Head of the Prime Minister’s Office Alounxay Sounnalath, Head of the Committee for External Relations of the Party Central Committee Thongsavanh Phomvihane were present at the celebration as successful alumni of the Intermediate English language programme for Lao senior officials and the Leaders in Governance programmes in Singapore.
“This year is particularly auspicious for the Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP) as it marks its 30th anniversary. The SCP was established in 1992 to bring together our various technical assistance programmes within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It aims to share Singapore’s development experience with other developing countries through human resource development and capacity building,” said Ambassador of Singapore to the Lao PDR Leow Siu Lin.
The SCP focuses on enhancing capacity building in developing countries, in particular through human resource development.
“We hope that by sharing our journey, our partners from around the world can learn from our experiences, both good and tough, which they can adapt to their own circumstances in order to make a positive impact to the lives of their own people,” said Ambassador Leow Siu Lin.
One of the initiatives launched on the occasion of the SCP’s 30th anniversary was the Sustainability Action Package (SAP), which will support capacity building for developing countries, focussed on sustainability and climate change.
The package aims to help countries decarbonise and will include key areas on sustainability, including strategies to build resilience for water resources and food security, developing sustainable infrastructure, and managing carbon markets, among others.
She said that Singapore welcomes partners and international organisations to work with Singapore to realise the SAP.
Technical cooperation remains a key pillar of Singapore-Laos relations. Since 1992, nearly 150,000 government officials from 180 countries, territories and intergovernmental organisations have been trained under the Singapore-funded programmes. These included almost 16,000 officials, or around 11 per cent, from Laos.
Singapore opened its first training centre in Vientiane in Sihom and then Naxay village, in 2001, and this was replaced by the Laos-Singapore Cooperation Centre (LSCC) along Thadeua Road in Beungkhayong village, in June 2019.
The upgraded LSCC serves as an integrated platform for Singapore to coordinate and deliver technical assistance programmes for Lao officials.
The centre is trying to ensure that its programmes remain relevant and useful to Laos by working closely with the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and key Lao ministries and agencies to formulate the mix of training courses each year as well as to curate specialised training programmes, according to the ambassador.
During Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh’s official visit to Singapore from 27 to 28 September 2022, the Singapore-Laos Enhanced Cooperation Package was unveiled. The package comprises a customised slate of courses to help Laos prepare for its upcoming ASEAN Chairmanship in 2024.
The premier visited Nanyang Polytechnic where he had attended a three-month-long English language programme in 1998.
“It warmed my heart to see His Excellency with his old teachers again after 24 years, and it struck me that the bonds of friendship were probably as important as the lessons learnt in Singapore,” said the Singaporean diplomat.
Source: Lao News Agency