All posts filed under: Development

UN expert: Laos’ approach ‘destroyed livelihoods, entrenched vulnerability’

Laos’ economic and poverty alleviation approach is counterproductive to its impoverished population’s health and puts their rights at risk, according to a scathing preliminary report by United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, which was recorded live for the first time. Alston delivered the report at the UN House in Vientiane Thursday after investigating the human rights of people in poverty in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The report includes the status of rural children, women and ethnic minorities, environmental issues and climate change, the role of foreign investment and infrastructure projects, access to social support, education and healthcare, and more. Alston acknowledged the government’s progress in reducing poverty, such as lowering the number of those living below the poverty line in half, but said its methods to grow the economy have “destroyed livelihoods, entrenched vulnerability, and actually made some people poorer by taking away their access to lands, livelihoods, and resources.” Almost 1/4 of the population lives in poverty and an estimated 80 percent lives at risk of poverty, according to the report. The UN expert …

Good Communities Come From Data Disaggregation

Even though we’ve come a long way, as Southeast Asian American refugee communities getting ready for our 45th year in the US, there are still many hurdles for us. Recently, the Chinese have been actively mobilizing to undermine the strides we’ve made by making national efforts to eliminate the collection of statistics and data so necessary to understand which policies have been effective in narrowing the educational achievement gap, and which have not. It should be obvious just saying it aloud: Good communities come from good data. In an era when everyone is concerned about the abuse of our social safety nets and education systems, as well as fake news, we should all be committed to gathering the most accurate information about our success and challenges. We should be more than willing to invest in the collection of data that ensures we’re seeing the real picture of how some communities succeed and others do not. Lao Minnesotans are among the many who have a direct stake in this issue. The phrase most commonly associated with …