Belgium’s Queen Mathilde, also doubling as the Honorary President of the Belgian National Commission for UNESCO, and her entourage arrived in Vientiane on Monday for a three-day visit (Feb 20-23) under the UNICEF cooperation framework.
The visit by the queen is the first of its kind for the Belgium dynasty.
Following her arrival, the visiting queen was accompanied by Vice President of Lao Women’s Union Bouachanh Sihanath and representative to UNICEF Laos Hongwei Gao on a courtesy call to Vice President Phankham Viphavanh.
The queen also met Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Khamphao Eunthavanh and President of the Lao Women’s Union Inlavanh Keobounphanh, respectively.
The discussions between the visiting queen and the hosts focused on the cooperation between Laos and UNICEF, especially the latter’s support and contributions to the implementation of the 8th Five – Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan of the government of Lao PDR, especially its poverty reduction efforts for Lao people and those needed to graduate the country from Least Developed Country status.
Addressing the meeting with the hosts, the queen highly valued the cooperation between Laos and UNICEF over the past years.
UNICEF spent US$49 million on its action plans in Laos between 2012-2016 and earmarked US$70.5 million for the 2017-2021 period with a focus to be placed on main programmes including social protection, climate change and disasters, education, health, clean water, nutrition, educational institutes, policy and justice.
The queen has also listed in her Laos plan to visit latrine and clean water projects co-implemented by the Lao PDR and UNICEF in the provinces of Saravan and Champassak.
During her visit to the two provinces, she will be accompanied by President of Lao Women’s Union Inlavanh Keobounphanh.
Source: Lao News Agency