Researchers from the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South have succeeded in creating an atlas mapping 70 facets of poverty distribution in the Lao PDR in high geographic resolution. The atlas gives policy-makers in Switzerland and decision-makers at local level a tool for optimizing the management of development projects.
There are many visible facets of poverty, including disposable income and literacy levels. In the Lao PDR, poverty can also be measured by the type of material - grass, wood, bamboo, corrugated zinc or tiles - used to construct house roofs.Neighbouring countries' impact on development
The atlas will help provide policy-makers in Switzerland and decision makers in the Lao PDR with a tool for deciding where development projects can be implemented to maximum effect in a country that is in one of the key regions of Swiss overseas development efforts. However, just consulting a map is not sufficient. Although the spatial pattern of roofing material usage gives a good indication of what proportion of poor people live where, the needs of a specific project dictate that other socioeconomic factors - such as the absolute number of poor people living in a particular place - be taken into account too. This is because there are fewer poor people in the particularly impoverished south-eastern part of the country than in the comparatively wealthy west. Accordingly, every map reflects just one facet of poverty in the Lao PDR. Only when taken together do the maps provide meaningful information on the diverse range of living conditions in the various regions of the country, which - despite being located in one of the most dynamic economic areas of south-east Asia - is still one of the world's poorest countries, according to the 2008 United Nations Human Development Report.Contact:
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