FAO and Lao People’s Democratic Republic move
forward with Hand-in-Hand Initiative to accelerate resource
partnerships for sustainable agriculture and rural
development

12/05/2021, Vientiane,
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
— The Minister
of Agriculture and Forestry has welcomed international
support to accelerate the country’s sustainable
agriculture and rural development at a virtual workshop
organized jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of the Lao
People’s Democratic Republic.

The Minister, Phet
Phomphiphak, made the remarks during the Asia-Pacific
region’s first inception workshop of FAO’s global Hand-in-Hand
Initiative
, a country owned and led initiative,
coordinated by FAO, and now moving forward in the Lao
People’s Democratic Republic. The workshop served as an
opportunity for international partners from Vientiane,
Bangkok, Rome and New York to start working together
formally. It also launched the initiative’s resource
mobilization effort in earnest, as the operational phase
begins. Indeed, the event proved very popular, attracting
more than 130 participants.

“Hand-in-Hand’s
matchmaking approach has brought together donors, private
companies and international financial institutions to speed
up action,” said Minister Phet Phomphiphak. “With strong
partnerships and solidarity, we have an opportunity to
implement national agricultural policies and consolidate LDC
(Least Developed Country) graduation.”

Hand-in-Hand
aims to unlock the country’s agricultural potential to
eradicate poverty, hunger and malnutrition, as part of a
broader effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
As such, it supports the Government’s Agriculture
Development Strategy to 2025 and Vision to the year
2030
.

“When we talk about building back
better and greener, we must focus on rural areas, where food
and agricultural systems are concentrated,” said Maximo
Torero, FAO’s Chief Economist. “It’s where the
majority of the poorest people live and work as smallholder
farmers. So rural development is key, and the Hand-in-Hand
Initiative is designed to do it and the Lao economic
corridor is a clear example of this.”

Hand-in-Hand
activities have been ongoing for more than six months. They
include territorial-level analysis to identify target areas,
value chain analysis, and the launch of a joint task force
between FAO and the Government on China-Lao railway
development. The railway is expected to build better
transport networks and improve access to national and
international markets from rural areas.

In the Asia
and Pacific region, FAO is supporting governments through
the Hand-in-Hand Initiative in a number of other countries
including Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea,
Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu by supporting them to
develop programming, investment and partnerships for
agricultural transformation. The ultimate aim is to reach
the least developed areas and raise incomes and food
security for all.

Hand-in-Hand – Evidence-based,
transformative impacts

The Hand-in-Hand Initiative is
evidence-based, country-led and country-owned to accelerate
agricultural transformation and sustainable rural
development to eradicate poverty (SDG 1) and end hunger and
all forms of malnutrition (SDG2). In doing so, it
contributes to attaining all of the Sustainable Development
Goals.

The Hand-in-Hand Initiative focuses on
enhancing agricultural productivity to improve nutrition and
raise rural living standards. The programme uses geospatial,
bio-physical and socio-economic data and analysis to
identify subnational territories where innovative solutions
and investments in agri-food systems and rural development
can have transformative impacts.

The initiative
prioritizes countries where national capacities and
international support are the most limited or where
operational challenges, including natural or man-made
crises, are the greatest. To learn more about the
Hand-in-Hand Initiative, visit: http://www.fao.org/hand-in-hand

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