UNDP Reaffirms commitment to support Lao PDR's National Development Priorities

September 5, 2022

UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director, Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNDP, Ms. Kanni Wignaraja


Vientiane, 5 September 2022: United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary-General and Director, Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ms. Kanni Wignaraja, landed in Vientiane yesterday for her first official visit to Lao PDR.

Ms. Wignarajal will meet senior government officials to discuss UNDP's support and contribution to national development priorities, including the 9th NSEDP and the sustainable development goals.

The Deputy Prime Minister, and Ministers of Planning and Investment, Labour and Social Welfare, Finance, Natural Resources and Environment, and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bank of Laos and the National Assembly will be on hand to welcome Ms. Wignaraja.

She will participate in the launch of a new programme with the National Assembly, called Strengthening Capacity and Effectiveness of People’s Assemblies System in Laos (STEPS), one of UNDP’s largest governance projects in the region, supported by USAID.

Ms. Wignaraja will also meet with representatives of civil society, organizations of persons with disabilities, women leaders, members of the private sector, as well as UNDP beneficiaries, to deepen her understanding of how UNDP can expand its support for key development initiatives.  

She will lead a dialogue on the upcoming 6th National Human Development Report on Youth as drivers of sustainable development.

Ms. Wignaraja is slated to visit key UNDP projects, for instance, in Luang Prabang, where she will meet with the Provincial People’s Assembly to understand some of the challenges they are facing during the economic crisis now engulfing the country. She will also travel to Vang Vieng to visit a tourist site renovated by the local community, through a cash-for-work programme.  

Over four decades of partnership with Lao PDR, UNDP has supported the government in several areas such as socio-economic development, inclusive growth, enhanced livelihoods, building the resilience of communities across the country, and climate action.


Note to Editors

About UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director Ms. Kanni Wignaraja

Kanni Wignaraja began her role as UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific on 18 November 2019.

Ms. Wignaraja has over thirty years of experience with the UN's mission and UNDP's role in the sustainable development agenda. She has a deep knowledge of the Asia-Pacific region and the global, regional, and country-level workings of UNDP across policy, programme, management, and operations.

Prior to joining the UN, Ms. Wignaraja worked with the Ford Foundation in New York. She has contributed to numerous papers, articles, and conferences in areas of public policy, institutional reform, capacity development, human rights, and leadership.

Wignaraja holds a master's degree in Public Administration (Development Economics) from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Bryn Mawr College. 

About UNDP 

UNDP works across 170 countries and territories to eradicate poverty while protecting the planet. We help countries develop strong policies, skills, partnerships, and institutions to sustain their progress. 


For more information, please contact: 

Aksonethip Somvorachit

Communications Analyst, UNDP Lao PDR,