Community Driven Development and Livelihoods Workshop
VIENTIANE, Lao PDR, February 3, 2012 – The Government of Lao PDR, jointly with the World Bank Group, organized a regional workshop focusing on community driven development and improvement of rural livelihoods. During this two-day event, participants from eleven Asian countries discussed regional experiences in improving economic opportunities in the rural areas, expanding road access and improving living conditions and empowerment among the rural poor.
Community Driven Development (CDD) is an approach which gives direct control over planning, decision making and investment resources for local development projects to community groups. In livelihoods programs, social capital created by the CDD approach will be transformed into economic capital, through a robust institutionalization of the poor on the premise that such institutions can push for better services, better financial terms and more jobs. By 2010, the World Bank Group support for CDD related projects had amounted to approximately US$ 7.8 billion, of which the CDD component was estimated to be US$5.1 billion all over the world.
While each country in the region has been enjoying a rapid economic growth in the past decade, there are emerging social and economic challenges such as rural-urban inequality or youth unemployment. CDD and work on livelihood improvement are increasingly recognized as important and effective approaches to address such issues.
The objective of the workshop is to share achievements and challenges from the past experience, and also to discuss future regional collaboration in the area of CDD and rural livelihood development. Among the participants were more than 40 representatives from the government of 11 countries in the region: Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Timor Leste, China, and Mongolia.
The agenda includes a series of presentations from participating countries highlighting on-going programs in the region which support strengthening of rural livelihoods, as well as panel discussion on innovative features, especially from South Asia countries which have advanced successful implementation of development programs in this area.
The event is part of a exchange program called “Learning from CDD models for Better Economic and Social Development Outcomes”, supported by the South-South Experience Exchange Trust Fund (SEETF). The programs have been enhancing mutual learning between South Asia and South East Asia countries since early 2011 and also included a knowledge exchange visit to India with delegations from Lao PDR and Vietnam, in August 2011.
This regional workshop will be the final event of the program, which is expected to leverage knowledge exchange on the subject of more efficient support to rural communities and region-wide friendship by extending the invitation to neighboring countries that are also willing to improve their CDD and Livelihoods initiatives.