Vientiane, 14 March 2017
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator and Chair of the United Nations Development Group Helen Clark highlights progress in Lao PDR’s sustainable development.
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark meets with the UN Country Team. Photo: UN in Lao PDR/Ildiko Hamos-Sohlo
Helen Clark met with high-level officials and the private sector and launched new UNDP programmes during her farewell visit to Lao PDR.
“Returning to Lao PDR after my participation in the High-Level Round Table Meeting in 2015, I can see the progress in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), enshrined in the 2030 Agenda. Lao PDR is leading the region in terms of alignment with the global development agenda”, Ms. Clark said, stressing impressive steps since her last visit to Lao PDR in November 2015.
During the official visit, Ms. Clark met H.E. Mr. Thongloun Sisoulith, commending the Prime Minister on his important initiatives to close tax loopholes, crackdown on corruption and ban illegal logging. She referred to the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan as a main entry point to integrate the Agenda 2030 into the national planning. Ms. Clark also highlighted Lao PDR’s adoption of an 18th national SDG on removing the unexploded ordnance (UXO) obstacle to human development, and praised the Government for its close collaboration with UNDP in this sector, illustrated in a new UXO programme for 2017-2021, which she launched with the Government during her visit.
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark meets with H.E. Mr. Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister of Lao PDR. Photo: UN in Lao PDR/Ildiko Hamos-Sohlo
In addition to the new UXO programme, Ms. Clark launched a UNDP-supported programme centered around the implementation of the 8th Plan, as well as a programme on strengthening of responsive and engaging governance structures and administrative systems.
Speaking to Foreign Minister H.E. Saleumxay Kommasith, Ms. Clark congratulated the Government on the smooth chairmanship of ASEAN in 2016, including the successful hosting of the ASEAN Summits in September last year. She stressed the importance of permanent engagement of neighbouring and regional partners to various development policy discussions, including within the Round Table Process.
The UNDP Administrator also mentioned Lao PDR’s administrative and legislative progress towards its goal of becoming a rule of law state by 2020. Ms. Clark noted remaining challenges, such as enforcement of existing legislation, strengthening of Human Rights framework and a more conducive legal and operating environment for the work of Civil Society organisations.
With Madame Pany Yathotou, Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms. Clark discussed the successful transition to the 8th Legislature. She acknowledged the National Assembly’s role in providing increasingly proactive oversight of public services and increased people’s participation in the decision-making process, through the People’s Provincial Assemblies launched last year, as well as such tools as the National Assembly telephone hotline, petitions and public hearings. She also congratulated Lao PDR on its progress on gender quality and women’s empowerment. Madame Pany is one of 41 women elected to key leadership positions in 2016, resulting in Lao PDR achieving one of the highest percentage of women parliamentarians in the ASEAN region, at 27.5 percent.
Ms. Clark met representatives of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by President Mr. Oudet Souvannavong to share UNDP’s global vision in terms of engaging private sector as partners in human development and how this vision can shape up in the context of Lao PDR. She mentioned the importance of the private sector as Lao PDR seeks the transition from its current natural resource-dependent approach to a more sustainable human skills-based pathway.
The Administrator concluded her visit to Lao PDR by meeting with heads of diplomatic missions to thank them for their contributions to development effectiveness through their co-chairing of Sector and Sub-Sector Working Groups as part of the Round Table Process.
Heads of UN agencies in Lao PDR and UNDP’s staff offered personal farewell messages to Helen Clark who will end her tenure as UNDP Administrator next month.
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Ildiko Hamos-Sohlo;
Head of Public Information Unit, UNDP Lao PDR
Tel: (+856 21) 267 778
Mobile: (+856 20) 7717 7913