Laos is now a full member of the World Trade Organization, affirming its engagement in the global economy. Our office in Vientiane encourages effective and responsive governance and legal systems; reductions in the negative impacts of development on the environment; expanding access to information and international engagement; and protecting women’s rights and well-being.


Improving Water Quality in Laos

Clean rivers in Laos are critically important to the well-being of local communities and to the country’s national development. Nearly 80 percent of the population of this landlocked Southeast Asian nation depends on river-fed subsistence agriculture for its survival. At the same time, hydropower exports from the Mekong River and its major tributaries now represent the country’s single largest industry, and new dam construction is challenging traditional livelihoods for the communities who live along the river. With support from the McConnell Foundation, The Asia Foundation has been helping Lao citizens to play an influential role in protecting their rivers by engaging them in decision-making and building their capacity to support environmental protection.

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