Vientiane, 8 September 2016
Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Vientiane was centered around the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits.
Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, was in Vientiane this week. On what may have been his last official visit to Southeast Asia, he held a series of bilateral meetings with Heads of States, including with H.E. Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister and H.E. Bounnhang Vorachith, President of Lao PDR, where he discussed matters regarding ASEAN-UN cooperation, the country’s 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan, the Government’s partnership with the UN and issues such as climate change. With the President, the Secretary-General also exchanged views on the importance of respect for human rights and providing necessary space for civil society.
The Secretary-General's participation in the ASEAN Summits aimed to strengthen the collaboration between the ASEAN and the United Nations and to advance the two major agreements reached last year for people, planet, prosperity, partnership and peace: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Addressing the ASEAN-UN Summit and the East Asia Summit, he urged all ASEAN leaders to establish a coordinating mechanism under their direct leadership to ensure the comprehensive implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as soon as possible, preferably by the end of this year.
Mr. Ban is known as the leading force behind the new global development agenda, which came into effect at the beginning of this year, with the SDGs at its core. The SDGs are a set of 17 globally agreed goals with the aim to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change worldwide, with the target date of 2030.
During his visit, Mr. Ban launched, together with the Government, a Lao-specific national SDG number 18 with the title “Lives safe from UXO”. Contamination with unexploded ordnance (UXO) is a major obstacle to the development of Lao PDR, and the Secretary-General had the opportunity to learn more about clearance, mine risk education and assistance to victims during a visit to the national clearance operator, UXO Lao Training Center in Elay Village.
Highlighting the importance of a coordinated approach to the country’s development, Ban Ki-moon witnessed the signing of the Lao PDR – United Nations Partnership Framework 2017-2021. The framework is a guiding document for development cooperation between the Government and the UN, leaning on the pillars of inclusive growth, livelihoods and resilience; human development; and governance.
Together with his wife Ms. Ban Soon-taek, the Secretary-General visited a community-based drug treatment centre at Sisattanak District Hospital to learn about youth drug use, treatment approach and hospital care of drug users in Lao PDR in a visit coordinated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Secretary-General also met with UN staff and the Heads of UN Agencies while in Vientiane.
Summarising his visit, Mr. Ban said: “I am pleased to be in Lao PDR, an important partner for regional multilateral dialogue and the current ASEAN Chair in 2016. I commend the Government and people of Laos for taking ownership of the entire 2030 Agenda, and for their creativity and commitment in setting a national Sustainable Development Goal, SDG18, on unexploded ordnance.”
He also congratulated the Government for ratifying the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, stressing that Laos was the first ASEAN country to join the agreement, a significant step towards bringing this historic agreement into effect this year.
This was Mr. Ban’s second official visit as UN Secretary-General to the Lao PDR, having been to Vientiane in 2009, when his schedule included the opening of the newly-completed UN House. He was appointed as the UN’s eighth Secretary-General in 2007 and is finishing his second term at the end of 2016.
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Ildiko Hamos-Sohlo
Communications Specialist, UN in Lao PDR
Tel: (+856 21) 267 778
Mobile: (+856 20) 7717 7913