the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) organized a meeting with relevant partners and stakeholders to discuss the establishment of an Anticipatory Action Technical Working Group (AA TWG) for the first time in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) at Crowne Plaza Hotel. The event was attended by a diverse range of partners and stakeholders, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, several United Nations agencies, international non-governmental organizations, and prominent civil society organizations operating in Lao PDR. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Vongkham Phanthanouvong, Director General of Social Welfare Department of Ministry of MoLSW, and co-chaired by Mr. Chanthalath Pongmala, Assistant FAO Representative (Programme) for Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Globally, there is a strategic shift in managing disasters from responding after a shock to mitigating the impacts before an anticipated disaster. The approach, commonly known as Anticipatory Action, has the potential to break the cycle of growing dependence on humanitarian aid. It involves risk monitoring, forecasting and early warning systems connected to flexible financing and standard operating procedures and delivery to protect people’s lives and livelihoods ahead of forecast shocks. Despite its growing disaster risk management portfolio in Lao PDR, there has been a lack of a dedicated platform for coordination and collaboration around the anticipatory approach in the country. Establishing the AA TWG will address this gap by bringing together key actors and fostering improved coordination and partnerships to scale up Anticipatory Action in Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
The Social Welfare Department, as the lead of the AA TWG, acknowledges the significance of this establishment and has expressed its agreement to move forward, according to Mr. Vongkham. Mr. Chanthalath echoed this sentiment and confirmed FAO’s commitment, as a co-lead of the group, to support the Social Welfare Department in advancing the AA TWG and ensuring its effective functionality. He further emphasized that, with various partners and organizations working on Anticipatory Action, it is envisioned that AA TWG serves as a platform for discussing best practices, sharing information on early warning triggers, and complementing each other’s efforts.
The membership of AA TWG is open to all government ministries, humanitarian and development agencies, civil society organizations and other stakeholders engaged in Anticipatory Action in Lao PDR. Together, MoLSW and FAO as secretariat will organize regular meetings and maintain a directory of members. Co-chairing will likely rotate between the two agencies on a flexible basis.
This initiative is facilitated as part of the Pilot Programmatic Partnership between the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) and FAO on increasing capacities and scale for Anticipatory Action including through social protection systems. The programmatic partnership has been ongoing in Lao PDR since 2021 and has already yielded several achievements including raising awareness of the Anticipatory Action approach, developing a drought Anticipatory Action trigger methodology, and drafting a drought Anticipatory Action Protocol.
Source: Lao News Agency