Foreign Minister attends UNDP Global meeting in New York

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
Send to friend: 

VIENTIANE,JUN.(KPL)- At a UNDP Global Meeting held in New York on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Thongloun Sisoulith highlighted Laos’ key achievements and challenges in realising the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
Dr Thongloun was invited to attend the meeting as an honourable guest of the UN in response to an invitation from UNDP Administrator Ms Helen Clark. The meeting reviewed the work plan of the UNDP over the past five years and established plans for future developments.
The UN Secretary-General and UNDP representatives from every country were in attendance.
Dr Thongloun told the meeting that in the past 10 years, the Lao economy has grown by an average of 7 percent annually and the poverty rate dropped from 48 percent in 1990 to 26 percent in 2010.
“The net enrollment rate of primary school children has also increased and maternal mortality rates have fallen. In addition, the role of women in society has been promoted and improved significantly,” he said. However, despite these positive outcomes, there remain numerous constraints and challenges in attaining the MDGs, he cautioned.
“Some of the key challenges include malnutrition which affects about 40 percent of children under the age of 5; a high maternal mortality rate compared to neighbouring countries; relatively low quality of primary education; a considerable gap between boys and girls in educational opportunities; and limited access to clean water and sanitation in rural communities,” Dr Thongloun said.
“Assessing the current progress against all MDG benchmarks, significant obstacles remain for Laos to overcome.
This requires tremendous efforts to accelerate MDG implementation in order to achieve all the targets and goals and attain the ultimate objective of graduating from Least Developed Country status by 2020.”
He explained that the legacy of the Indochina War has left behind a huge amount of the unexploded ordnance (UXO), which continues to kill and maim innocent people.
Over 30 percent of Laos’ total land area is heavily contaminated by UXO and constitutes a major constraint and challenge for the achievement of national social and economic development objectives and the realisation of MDGs.
Taking into account the specific needs of the country, at the 10th Round Table Meeting, the Lao government and its development partners endorsed a localised MDG 9 to address the impact of UXO.
Dr Thongloun said Laos is delighted to be selected as one of the pilot countries for the adoption of the MDG Acceleration Framework as well as MDG 9, which specifically focuses on UXO.
The framework is a result of collaboration between the Lao government and the UN and identifies key challenges and constraints to achieving the MDGs, as well as outlining the areas and specific measures to be implemented during the next five years.