In January 2011 the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) returned to Laos after a 35 year absence. Around the world, USAID is the principal U.S. agency providing humanitarian aid, disaster relief, economic assistance, and support for democratic reforms. In Laos, USAID oversees a broad portfolio of programs that totaled $ 8 million in fiscal year 2014, primarily addressing critical needs in the health, environment, and economic development sectors. Throughout Laos, USAID funds are supporting projects to assist Lao people to raise their quality of life, protect natural resources, and modernize the economy in a sustainable manner.
A small sampling of USAID programs in Lao P.D.R. includes:
- In the field of health and medicine: programs to monitor and prevent avian flu and other emerging pandemic threats; programs to prevent and control transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections; programs to control the spread of malaria, tuberculosis, and Dengue Fever.
- In the field of environmental protection and conservation: Programs to support responsible timber trade and sustainable forest management; programs to protect endangered species and reduce the illegal wildlife trade; programs to help communities along the Mekong River adapt to climate change
- In the field of economic development: programs providing technical assistance and training to the Government of Laos to implement reforms in order to accede to the World Trade Organization, implement the Lao PDR-US Bilateral Trade Agreement, and collaborate with other ASEAN nations; programs supporting the development of an ASEAN single window for trade.
Mr. Curtis Borden is the USAID/RDMA Representative in Laos. Before taking the USAID position, Mr. Borden worked on a number development projects in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, India and Thailand. He speaks Lao and Thai.