Tuesday, 9 July 2013

ACIAR's Laos office opens doors

Our country office in Lao PDR was officially launched last month. The office is the hub for ACIAR work in the Mekong countries and China region. Being set up at the Australian embassy in Vientiane helps to enhance the close engagement between ACIAR and AusAID programs assisting Lao development.

The opening was attended by senior government officials, project personnel and development partners. 'Cutting the ribbon' at the launch were H.E. Lynda Worthaisong, Australian Ambassador to Laos; H.E. Dr Phet Phomphiphak, Vice Minister for Agriculture and Forestry; and Dr Gamini Keerthisinghe, ACIAR Principal Regional Coordinator.

Dr Keerthisinghe, H.E. Dr Phet Phomphiphak and
H.E. Lynda Worthaisong (left to right) at the opening ceremony
Dr Phomphiphak said “ACIAR’s research contributes to food security and sustainable economic development for many of the rural poor in Laos. This year I’ve been pleased to have an opportunity to visit a number of ACIAR projects, and to see the direct contribution that they are making to Lao people.
“ACIAR will be an important contributor to the implementation of Lao PDR’s 7th National Socioeconomic Development Plan, and Agricultural and Forestry Development Strategy,” Dr Phomphiphak said.
ACIAR currently has a suite of agricultural projects in Laos, looking at farming and marketing systems, climate change adaptation strategies, groundwater use, fisheries development, and forestry research on paper mulberry, teak and other plantation wood. One major project is constructing a fish passage in Bolikhamsay to allow fish to move between the Mekong River and the Pak Peung wetlands. This will give fish access to vital spawning and nursery habitat, and also play a vital role in ensuring food security and boosting the economy of the region.

This video provides an overview of ACIAR's work in Laos and the region.


Dr Keerthisinghe said “ACIAR is really a brokering agent bringing partnerships together. It’s important we support such partnerships, as they often evolve into long-term relationships that help build capacity in the region beyond the lifespan of projects.”

ACIAR's Country Manager for Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, Ms Khun Chiraporn Sunpakit, was pleased that this new office will help forge closer linkages and technology transfer between countries in the region.

Manager of Stakeholder Relationships, Souhpalack Inphonephong, said "It will allow us to build more productive partnerships. For example, I have been invited to attend field visits with project staff, helping me understand the role that ACIAR-funded research plays through farmers’ perceptions."

More information

ACIAR projects in Lao PDR

Associated blog posts:
Fishway project: Free-flowing fish for food security
Narrandera scientist works in Laos: From the Murray to the Mekong
Chris Barlow, ACIAR Fisheries Program Manager, writes: Are Fisheries Important? 

Video: ACIAR's role in Laos

Alexandra Bagnara, ACIAR Communications

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