My delegation aligns itself with the statements made by the distinguished representatives of Pakistan, the Philippines, Malawi and Bostwana on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, ASEAN, LDCs and LLDCs respectively.
At a national capacity, the Government of Lao PDR has attached great importance to the 2030 Agenda and streamlined the SDGs into our national socio-economic development plans. To supervise the actual implementation, the National SDGs Steering Committee chaired by Prime Minister has been established underlining the whole-of-Government approach to ensure localization and implementation of the SDGs in all sectors concerned.
Over the years, significant progress had been made particularly in poverty reduction with absolute poverty reduced to around 18% in 2021. Lao PDR was also performing well in agricultural and food production; core health indicators had also improved. In addition, the country has made remarkable efforts to identify and implement measures for mitigating climate change. The National Green Growth Strategy has laid out a vision of transformation that supports Lao PDR’s long-term sustainable development ambition.
Taking into account its particular development challenge, the Lao PDR took ownership by adopting the National SDG 18 entitled “Live Safe from Unexploded Ordnance” to address the prolonged impacts by focusing on clearing contaminated lands. Yet, the recent decreasing funding from the key donors has hampered the efforts to provide safer areas for farmers and development activities as UXOs continue to pose major threats to the people especially children. Towards this end, national instruments have also been formed to guide the implementation of SDG18 and to ensure better linkage with other SDGs.
Despite some progress made, numerous challenges remain to be addressed. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed our world’s vulnerabilities and inequalities and threatened to revert the hard-earned developmental gains including in Lao PDR. As the country has been recommended to graduate from the LDC status, however, due to COVID-19 and the already existing challenges, our development aspiration will remain a challenging task.
Lao PDR has successfully presented the second Voluntary National Review last year. Allow me to share some valuable lessons and the way forward described as follows:
First, the Government’s strong commitment and ownership to the 2030 Agenda lies within the greater involvement of all ministries and provincial authorities. Therefore, building their capacities is great important to ensure effective translation of the Government’s commitment into actions for localization, integration and reporting on the SDGs.
Second, administrative data systems in many goals still need to be harmonized, streamlined and strengthened while enhancing institutional and statistical capacity building.
Third, engagement, inclusiveness and participatory of all stakeholders in the society is crucial to ensure that no one is left behind.
Fourth, the support from development partners and international organizations are fundamental in providing resource and knowledge to accelerating the SDG actions.
Last but not least, public awareness on SDGs is important for ensuring greater support and partnership which are essential.
Let me conclude by expressing our sincere thanks to international community and development partners for the continued assistance and support provided to the Lao PDR to overcome the current and future challenges.
I Thank you.