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Road between Lao and VietnamT he ASEAN region has historically experienced high intra-mobility of goods and people, but in the recent years, the quantum of such mobility has increased dramatically. Various factors have contributed to this increase, including economic disparity within the region; differences in economic/ employment/ business opportunities; transportation and communication infrastructure development, education opportunities, and a wider network of migrants in major cities and industrial areas in the region.

The largest factor is the heavy investment in the construction and renovation of road networks. Road networks, which are important for regional integration within ASEAN, are critical for the less developed member countries, especially those in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries. Recognizing this, bilateral and regional financial institutions including the governments in ASEAN region, supported heavily to improve the road network. The fact that people move both within and out of the region has implications not only for the well-being of migrants themselves, but also for the sending and receiving communities.

However, several questions remain. Have these roads actually contributed to poverty alleviation in the poorer regions of ASEAN? Or have they only increased the disparity between the rich and poor, resulting in future social tensions in the region? Normally, before roads are constructed, mandatory environmental and social impact assessment are to be carried out. However, knowledge and skills as well as sensitivity towards social/ gender/ ethnic fabric in the local areas often is not available among the agencies that is to carry out the assessment, especially in the agencies in charge of road infrastructure development. Even when there is already a sensitivity among the staff members of the agencies, the lack of data, case studies and research hamper effective assessment.

This project aims to fill this gap in the capacity for gender, poverty and mobility analysis in road infrastructure development among government officers in four GMS countries, namely Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar.

Our Objectives

Main objective of the project is to strengthen the capacity of the government officers and other related personnel to conduct gender and poverty analysis and impact assessment of road construction projects. Specifically, the project aims

(1) To develop a better understanding of the gaps/limitations in the existing gender and poverty analysis and impact assessment criteria/ tools/ method being used within and outside ASEAN countries;

(2) To strengthen the capacity of government officers and related personnel to conduct an analysis/assessment of social/gender impact of road construction project in the context of their own countries, and to become trainers to develop capacity of other personnel in their countries; and

(3) To develop gender and poverty analysis and impact assessment tools as well as accompanying cases for the context of ASEAN countries which prioritize poverty alleviation and social equality in marginalized areas in the region.


Photo: Road between Lao and Vietnam by K.Kusakabe

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