September 6, 2013
VIENTIANE – The United Nations Country Team today pledged to support the Government’s efforts to alleviate poverty in the country whilst calling for more interconnected solutions in order for Laos to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“Renewed efforts by the Government and the international community will be essential for Lao PDR to achieve the goals it has set for itself”, said Leik Boonwaat, United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. speaking at the launch event for the 2013 MDG Lao PDR progress report at the Don Chan Palace, Vientiane.
The third progress report, produced as a collaborative effort between the Government and all United Nations Agencies, shows how Lao PDR has made significant progress towards improving the well-being and living standards of many poor communities in the country since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration in 2000. These include the expansion of basic services, the strengthening of rural infrastructure and a substantial reduction in poverty. However, high rates of malnutrition, infant and maternal mortality, school dropouts as well as shortfalls in UXO clearance continue to keep several of the MDGs in Lao PDR off-track.
“These goals reflect the many interconnected dimensions that contribute to extreme poverty”, Mr. Boonwaat said. “Transformative change that encourages creativity and innovation will be needed to develop interconnected, homegrown solutions to continuing challenges”, he stressed.
Food and Nutrition security remains one of the key challenges for Lao PDR, and the progress report further highlights the significant national inequalities that persist in the country. “Addressing the needs of vulnerable groups within the country will be essential to ensure sustainable progress.” Mr. Boonwaat added.
As fewer than 1000 days remain before the global deadline for reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the progress Report provides a concrete basis for the Government of Lao PDR and its development partners to emphasize areas for special attention and make adjustments to accelerate progress towards the 2015 goals.
“The United Nations is here to continue working with the Government and other partners to achieve equitable and sustainable development, the MDGs and beyond”, Mr. Boonwaat said, speaking on behalf of the United Nations Country Team.
To mark the launch of the new Report, the UN and Ministry of Foreign Affairs have launched a national photo competition, titled “Laos in Focus – picturing the MDGs”. The contest, officially announced today, aims to raise awareness about development issues among the Lao people and particularly the youth. The call for submissions is now open until the 13th of October 2013.
The full Report is downloadable in English here
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that were officially established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, following the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. All 189 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve these goals by the year 2015. Lao PDR also has also adapted special national MDG9 to reduce the impact of UXO.
To read in Lao language, click here.