Mr. Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific visited Lao PDR on Nov 23-24 to attend the 2017 Round Table Implementation Meeting in Pakse, Champasak.
During his keynote speech at the Round Table Implementation Meeting on 23 November, Mr. Xu commended the Government of Lao PDR for leading the RTIM process in an efficient, inclusive and open manner.
He emphasised the importance of investing in human assets in order to ensure graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status and integration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Lao PDR needs to secure sustained investments in five core areas of its national health and educational programmes. These include ‘nutrition’, ‘literacy’, ‘secondary school enrolment’, ‘under-5 mortality’ and ‘maternal mortality’. These could be viewed as the ‘big five’, which will not just propel Lao PDR out of LDC status, but provide a solid foundation for SDG attainment by 2030. The UN system stands ready to continue to support your effort to end poverty in all its forms in Lao PDR and in turn to contribute to setting Asia-Pacific on the path to sustainable development. In his speech, Mr. Xu also stressed the importance of the private sector as a key partner in development, as well as regional cooperation.
During his mission, Mr. Xu visited UNDP project sites in Sekong and Salavan provinces. He launched the next cycle of one of UNDP’s flagship projects, focusing on people’s participation with the help of community radio, which is implemented jointly with the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
Speaking at the launching ceremony in the Thateng Community Radio station, Mr. Xu highlighted the strong partnership between the Government and UNDP and acknowledged the Government’s commitment to sustainable and equitable development through improving access to information: Access to information that is relevant to the community is vital to help people make informed decisions about their lives. I commend the Government of Lao PDR for providing this opportunity to people of Lao PDR, and especially to those living in remote areas, and speaking other languages. Our common aim is to leave no one behind on our way to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Thatheng station is one of eight community radio stations supported by UNDP across Lao PDR, reaching more than 300,000 people and broadcasting in 11 different languages/dialects. The stations are run by local volunteers and cover a range of issues such as agriculture, disaster preparedness, health, gender and migration. Mr. Xu witnessed a broadcast and discussed with local volunteers who operate the station.
Haoliang Xu also visited a Women’s Service and Training Centre and a project pilot village in Salavan province, as part of UNDP’s global Integrated Sustainable New Communities project, implemented in Lao PDR by the Lao Women’s Union (LWU). UNDP has partnered with the LWU to enable villagers to participate in building a better future for their village while closely working with the local government and aligning with relevant national development policies and the SDGs. Mr. Xu emphasised the importance of focusing on women’s livelihoods as they directly impact the whole family and community.
During his stay in Pakse, Mr. Xu also held bilateral meetings with Deputy Prime Minister Somdy Douangdy, Minister of Planning and Investment Souphanh Keomixay, Governor of Champasak Bounthong Divixay and other senior government officials.
Source: Lao News Agency