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LESSONS:

Lao People’s Democratic Republic: Vientiane Urban Infrastructure and Services Project

sector: Transport, Water and Other Urban Infrastructure and Services | country: Lao, People’s Democratic Republic

The Independent Evaluation Department (IED) is in agreement with four main lessons stated by the project completion report (PCR). As inferred above, IED concurs with the PCR that the main lesson learned from the Project is that civic participation positively affects urban governance; participation also benefits project implementation. Project implementation, through village committees with contracts to the district, ‘ingrained in the communities a level of trust in their dealings with the government and project staff.’ Poverty alleviation was a major ADB policy at the time of project approval, and IED considers that that a high level of civic participation in project implementation, along with the support of community organizations for the local civil works, can be applied to other ADB projects of this nature. This is especially relevant given ADB’s policy of poverty alleviation. Most other developing member country attempts at local, low-income area development have been thwarted, either by local government by-laws, insignificant government budgets and/or lack of concern for development in low- income areas. The village area improvements (VAI) program demonstrates that mobilized communities can take charge of their own development, and that in such instances government development expenditures are usually far less than those dictated in top-down budgets.

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