Switzerland has agreed to contribute US$18 million to help Laos reduce poverty and achieve the targets set in the National Socio-Economic Plan. A grant agreement for the funding was signed recently by the Director of Cooperation for the Mekong Region of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Mr Tim Enderlin, and Deputy Minister of Finance, Ms Thipphakone Chanthavongsa. The grant assistance was provided through the Poverty Reduction Fund Phase 3 (2017-2020) and will be used to improve access to basic services for the country’s poorest communities, according to the SDC. It is envisaged that the overall goal of the Poverty Reduction Fund will be achieved through inclusive community level and local development processes with an emphasis on ensuring sustainability. The main objectives of the Fund are to improve the delivery of public services at the village level in remote upland areas, including providing access to health and education facilities, along with safe and reliable water for consumption and irrigation.