Where is Sombath? Where is the UPR?

The last Universal Periodic Review for the Lao PDR was held in January, 2015.

Seventy-two states made 203 recommendations, and the Lao government accepted 119 of them.

Ninety-three of those accepted recommendations called for a specific action, yet nearly two and one-half years later, and half-way until the next review, authorities have yet to release their plan for follow-up.

And while civil society organisations often play important roles in the follow-up and monitoring of the UPR implementation, those in Laos are apparently obliged to wait for the government plan.

 

Development partners: Where are the people?

declaration-word-cloud

Above is a word cloud generated from the Vientiane Declaration on Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation  from the 2015 High Level Roundtable Meeting.

Where are the people? The term only appears three times in the document itself, and those are within the Lao PDR’s name.

Other terms such as rights, empowerment, participation, rural, ethnic minority, and even core sectors such as education, health or agriculture are also missing.

Surely development partners use these words in soliciting resources and reporting on programmes, so why are they so noticeably absent in this important document meant to guide development action for the next decade?