Vientiane province : — Laos will need continuous support from friendly countries and development partners despite the significant achievements that have been made in socio-economic development in recent years.
High level government officials and local authorities revealed the circumstances at the 2016 Round Table Implementation Meeting, which ended yesterday in Vientiane provincial capital.
The meeting was titled Accelerating the implementation of the Eighth National Socio-Economic Development Plan (8th NSEDP 2016-2020) for Least Developed Country graduation and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Discussion focused on localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), effective development partnerships, food and nutrition security, green growth, as well as climate change and disaster response preparedness.
In his opening remarks, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mr Somdy Duangdy noted the significance of the meeting taking place outside the country’s capital, and Vientiane province’s socio-economic conditions were explained to participants.
This shows the government’s effort in comprehensively pursuing local development following the Sam Sang (Three Builds) directive: building provinces as strategic units, building districts as comprehensively strong, and building villages as development units, Mr Somdy said.
He reminded the audience of the country’s continuing economic growth, which has been 6.9 percent over the past 10 months, and is predicted to reach 7 percent by the end of this year with income per capita at US$2,027.
Meanwhile, Mr Somdy also noted the internal and external impacts on the country’s economy such as the fall in mineral prices, the rubber price decline, and natural disasters, which he said seriously affected agricultural crops and exports, as well as revenue collection, which did not meet the planned target.
Speaking at the meeting, Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Souphanh Keomixay stressed the inclusion of localisation of the SDGs into the national development agenda as well as at the local level, saying these should reflect effective use of money and labour in project implementation, and strongly support the participation of all sectors, including private businesses and residents.
He also proposed for such participation in the implementation of food and nutrition programmes with stronger and more harmonious coordination.
For green growth and climate change and disaster response preparedness, the minster pressed for the strategy to be realised following the government having ratified the United Nations Agreement on Climate Change.
Amendment of Government Decree No. 75 on Effective Development Aid Implementation was mentioned by Dr Souphanh as a real need, while calling for the ministry and other sectors to pay attention to the matter.
United Nations Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme Representative, Ms Kaarina Immonen, praised the government’s decision to provide a provincial location as the venue for this year’s Round Table meeting.
She congratulated the government for promoting Laos as the first ASEAN country to have submitted the ratification instrument in respect of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
She also praised the government as a champion in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the National Assembly’s engagement in policy issues regarding national development, and the newly founded provincial people’s assemblies as new advocates for the implementation of the NSEDP and SDGs at the local level.
Some areas to be considered for further consultation were revenue and public debt management, which Ms Immonen said required particular attention.
She said the government is encouraged in its commitment to the production of integrated transparent and accountable national budgeting and alignment with ODA growth.
Source: Vientiane Times