UN-Habitat in Lao PDR will promote urban strategies and policies that strengthen the capacity of cities to act as engines of economic development and to enhance their contribution to value creation and the building of wealth and assets. As there is an immense challenge facing cities all over the world today on how to create decent jobs and livelihoods for their people, including the increasing numbers of urban youth, as well as women, who are often disadvantaged by discriminatory practices.

Recent trends towards fiscal decentralization and globalization have highlighted the importance of cities as economic agents. It will, in particular, contribute towards the formulation and implementation of effective urban strategies and policies supportive of local economic development, creation of decent urban jobs, especially for the youth and for women, and enhanced municipal finance.

It is envisaged that the creation of decent urban jobs and livelihoods will contribute to reducing social inequalities, including gender-based inequalities, and also to improve urban safety through its social impact. One work cluster in this focus area, “Youth and job creation”, will promote policies supportive of the creation of jobs and livelihoods, especially for young people and women.

Furthermore, at the country level and local levels, UN-Habitat supports the production of local urban knowledge and the establishment of urban platforms, i.e., local urban observatories, to collect and analyse data and indicators. This includes the capacity development of the local platforms themselves. Information and knowledge on best practices and lessons learned in terms of policies, programmes, and institutional arrangements that are fit-for- purpose for different urban contexts and urban services delivery systems will also be collected as part of an agency-wide cross-cutting activity. Also, at the country level, the focus area is the UN-Habitat hub of expertise in developing institutional and individual capacities to ensure that the delivery of evidence-based policies and programmes benefit urban stakeholders.