Policy Brief

Ethnic Group Policy Framework (EGPF)


The Loa Poverty reduction Fund's First Phase (PRF 1: 2003-2011) included an Ethnic Group Policy Framework (EGPF) aimed at including ethnic minorities in its community driven development process in 
PRF targeted poverty districts and communities. The Second Phase or PRF 2 builds on the lessons learned in Phase 1 and aims to facilitate communities in improving ethnic minority access to, utilization 
and sustainability of basic infrastructures through improved inclusive community and local development processes. The EGPF is based on the Approach for Inclusion of all Ethnic Groups and a quick 
identification of vulnerable groups. It is also connected to the Compensation and Resettlement Policy Framework (CRPF) and Environment and Social Management Framework (ESMF).


To ensure that vulnerable ethnic groups are afforded meaningful opportunities to participate in planning that affects them,
To ensure that opportunities to provide ethnic groups with culturally appropriate benefits are considered, and 
Any project impacts that adversely affect them are avoided or otherwise minimized and mitigated.

Policy to Encourage Ethnic Groups

The WB's Operational Policy 4.10 (Indigenous Peoples) requires that special planning measures be established to protect the interests of ethnic groups who have a social and cultural identity distinct from 
the dominant society, and that may make them vulnerable to being disadvantaged in the development process. The policy requires identifying ethnic groups in each village to ensure they can engage fully in the participatory processes, and also, that ethnic facilitators are recruited and/or appropriate materials in local languages prepared when necessary. Additionally, all frameworks and policies should be made in close consultation with the Lao Front for National Construction (LFNC) Office.

Adopting the Ethnic Groups Inclusion Approach 

Adopting the approach includes ensuring that:
Ethnic groups receive culturally compatible social and economic benefits from community driven development (CDD) PRF Sub-Projects.
The concerns of all ethnic groups are met through the design of PRF II itself as well as in accordance with government policy. 
Throughout PRF facilitated sub-project implementation multi-ethnic cultures are respected, and gender issues are integrated at all levels.

Government Policy and Regulations

The 1992 Ethnic Minority Policy of the Lao PDR identified three essential tasks: 
1. Strengthening political foundations;
2. Increasing production and opening distribution channels in order to convert subsistence based economics towards market-based economics, and
3. Focusing on expanding education, health and other social benefits. 
This policy states that Lao PDR must discourage ethnic minorities from continuing practices associated with shifting cultivation by arranging for permanent, more reliable and lucrative livelihoods alternatives. The aim is for the benefits of other forms of agriculture to outweigh those associated with shifting cultivation.

Challenges Faced by Vulnerable Ethnic Groups

Ethnic minorities face many challenges and obstacle to participating in and benefiting from development activities. The challenges faced by vulnerable ethnic groups in Lao PDR can be grouped into three 
1. The vulnerable ethnic groups may be unable take advantage of the market-economy opportunities, and women are often the least able to; 
2. The creation of the Kum ban committees, also has a direct impact on vulnerable ethnic groups in sofar as it demonstrates their difficulties in accessing information and being represented in decision- making; thus, contributing to imbalanced negotiation discussions;
3. The changes mentioned above, also have an impact on traditional gender roles that may lead to persistent gaps between men and women.

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Source: Poverty reduction Fund, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

Author: Poverty reduction Fund