Public Policy student part of poverty reduction team in Laos

Chloe Miller’s daily walk to work is different compared to that of most students.

Chloe Miller’s daily walk to work is different compared to that of most students.

Chloe MillerMiller has spent the past few months working with the Poverty Reduction Unit, a component of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Vientiane, Lao PDR. “I spent the majority of my first week reading about the Unit, their goals, initiatives and past work,” says Miller, a JSGS MPA student at the U of S campus. “As the only native English speaker on my team I will be editing a lot of documents.”

The Poverty Reduction Unit is a branch of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that focuses on reducing global poverty by creating inclusive economic growth worldwide. Globally, extreme poverty dropped by 650 million people in the past three decades, but more than a billion are still affected by extreme poverty. Miller is a part of the Laos UNDP team and has been working on research for round table discussions aimed to increase development assistance in the region.

Miller has also been working on the National Human Development Report, which will eventually help the government focus on development challenges while trying to reach their goal of graduating from ‘Least Developed Country’ status by 2020. In addition to this work, Miller is doing research on different policy options for Lao by looking at international solutions in poverty reduction, such as special economic zone evaluations, minimum spending requirements for agriculture and business environment improvement. Miller has been involved in drafting reports for donor nations (Canada amongst them) to Lao PDR as well, to showcase how international finances are being used.

The Canadian International Development Agency supports Lao PDR mainly through funding from the Southeast Asian Regional Programme and the Canadian Partnership Branch. Since 1996, Canada has offered over $3.7 million to the sector through the United Nations Development Programme, including a $1 million contribution to the Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme in support of clearing remaining bombs from the Vietnam War.

This work has not affected Miller’s sense of adventure, and she continues to explore Vientiane in her free time. “There is always something to do, somewhere to go and people to visit. Vientiane is amazing for the people, both international and national,” says Miller.

More information on the UNDP Intern Program at the University of Saskatchewan is available from the College of Graduate Studies and Research (grad.recruitment@usask.ca).

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