Monday, May 11, 2009

Laos to begin recognizing NGO's

Communist country Laos will begin to recognize Non-Governmental organizations who are doing work within the country. The aid groups can begin to apply for recognition in November, and these may free them to be able to do more good.

From AFP News via Yahoo, we see reaction to the news from NGO's in other parts of the world.

More than 100 local organisations of various types already exist in the country but are not centrally registered, said Luke Stephens, country director of the Irish-based NGO Concern Worldwide.

The decree provides a clear legal framework for membership-based groups, in contrast to the existing situation under which registration is done on a more ad hoc basis, said Stephens, whose group backed the drafting of the decree.

"Now it's a much more transparent process," he said. "With the former system you could only register if you had connections."

Stephens added that "it's hard to understate the significance" of the decree signed on April 29 by Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh.

"It means anyone can register and then they have a secure and legal way to work and not be hindered by someone that doesn't like them."

Groups would, for example, be able to join together to work on poverty, development, health and other issues facing the country, he said.

"At least we have a decree to set up local NGOs, and that's a big step in Laos," said Isabelle Decout, of the INGO Network, a coordinating body of 65 international aid groups in the country.

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