Xayaboury, 15 October 2016
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Xayaboury provincial government and the United Nations in Lao PDR inaugurated the celebrations of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, and of World Food Day dedicated to the theme of “Climate is changing. Food and Agriculture must change too”.
Photo: UN in Lao PDR / Somlith Khounpaseuth
The day’s activities began with a ceremony, which also celebrated the country’sachievement of the poverty-related Millennium Development Goalof halving the proportion of people in poverty. The ceremony took place at the national stadium and was followed by an exhibition of organizations involved in poverty eradication and in climate change in agriculture.
The inauguration was presided over by the Deputy Prime Minister, H.E. Dr. Sonexay Siphandone, the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, H.E. Dr. Dr. Liane Thykeo, the Governor of Xayaboury Province, H.E. Mr. Phongsavanh Sitthavong, Ms. Kaarina Immonen, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, and the FAO Representative to Lao PDR, Dr. Stephen Rudgard.
The Governor highlighted the need for the government’s agricultural strategies to address climate change. These strategies should be aimed at helping smallholder farmers.
In his remarks, Dr. Thykeo noted that the Lao PDR has endorsed the Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate poverty and hunger, and to combat climate change. National strategies reflect these priorities, and programmes are being implemented to bring about the necessary changes.
After submitting its nationally declared contributions to the Climate Change Conference COP 21 in Paris in December 2015, the Prime Minister of Lao PDR presented the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to the Secretary-General of the United Nations at the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane in September, asthe first ASEAN country.
Dr. Stephen Rudgard stressed that the UN is providing assistance to reduce the threat of irregular weather patterns that are affecting agricultural productivity and are undermining food security in Lao PDR. The UN is also supporting the government inincreasingthe accessto basic services, livelihoods and resources forcommunities living in poverty, and to enhance resilience to economic and climate-related challenges.
The UN recognises that the poorest and most hungry people suffer the most from climate change, and 80 percent of them live in rural areas. They earn their living and feed their families from the sector that bears most of the impacts.
The activities were completed by a seminar on the country’s approach to innovation in agriculture to reduce the effects of climate change and eradicate poverty. The seminar was chaired by the Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Phouang Parisak Pravongviengkham, and co-chaired by Ms. Kaarina Immonen.
Participantsfrom government agencies, UN agencies, and development organizations discussed the lessons learned on effective approaches to climate change through good practice options applied at community level, and the policy and practical measures in place to combat poverty.