At the outset, my delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of Cambodia on behalf of ASEAN.
The Lao PDR joins others in thanking the Secretary-General for his briefing on the work of the organization and expresses its support to the proposed action areas for 2022. On this occasion, my delegation commends the Secretariat and all UN agencies for the achievements made thus far, despite the ongoing challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic. We remain hopeful and await further actions and results in the same manner.
As pointed out by the Secretary-General, we are facing magnitudes of challenges in our efforts towards achieving all key objectives and outcomes of the Organization. Given the vast impacts of the still unfolding COVID-19 and the “5 alarms” highlighted by the SG, it is evident that the imbalance in the world’s current recovery and development funding still exists. It is crucial to recognize that many of our agreed programmes, including many of the SDG targets remain off- track and require due attention and all possible efforts to bring them back on track.
Like many, addressing COVID-19 impacts remain our most urgent and immediate concern. While, it is heartening to see, in the report, that billions in resources are being mobilized to fund COVID-19 Response and Recovery, but is also disheartening to compare such number to the Trillions that the “wealthier countries” are pouring into their own response and economic stimulus programmes. This is just a small example of the “morally bankrupt global financial system”, the SG has mentioned. More could and should be done to really help those who are the “most vulnerable” first.
On vaccination, the Lao PDR aims to reach at least 70% of its population by the first quarter of 2022. This crucial threshold target can only be realized through further support from COVAX, along with other bilateral partnerships and supports. On this note, I wish to express, on behalf of the Lao government and people, our deep appreciation to the development partners and UN agencies for the valuable support and assistance rendered to us.
As celebrative as we are, being recommended for graduation from the LDC status in 2026, there remains much more work to be done, to ensure a smooth and irreversible graduation in 5 years’ time. Hence, the Lao PDR is formulating its sustainable graduation strategy, and is consistently firm on maintaining poverty alleviation at the top of our national agenda. To this end, we welcome all new initiatives of development cooperation, in line with our National Socio-Economic Development Plan, which has integrated SDG indicators, since their inception in 2015.
Adding to our existing areas of concerns, climate change and natural disasters continue to remind us of another crisis facing humanity. We must address this at a global scale, and we must act now. We have already witnessed the level of destruction climate crisis has caused to decades of development thus far. This further cautions us that there is no sustainability without climate action.
In closing, the Lao PDR once again expresses its profound appreciation to all UN agencies and development partners for the continued support and assistance extended to us. Despite being both LDC and landlocked, the Lao PDR hopes to contribute more in the work of our organization. Therefore, the Lao PDR has for the first time, presented its candidature for ECOSOC membership for 2023-2025. We stand ready to add a stronger voice by representing Group of Countries in Special Situations in this august body and look forward to support by all member states.
I thank you Mr. President.