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UN COVID-19 response and recovery fund backing Laos

The United Nations will support the Lao government’s preparedness and response to the coronavirus under its COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund with two UN projects approved via the fund recently.
According to a joint Laos-UN media statement released on Wednesday, the fund was recently launched by the UN Secretary-General to support low- and middle-income countries overcome the health and development crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and support people most vulnerable to economic hardship and social disruption.

Following the UN secretary-general’s launch of the fund, the Lao government, together with the UN and other partners, has been working at full capacity to outline a collective, systemic and timely response to the rapidly unfolding COVID-19 outbreak.
At the formal request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the government, the UN country team has been working to strengthen the government’s COVID-19 response capacity, developing two project proposals under the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund totalling US$1 million.
Director General of the International Organisation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Maythong Thammavongsa said working in partnerships was essential in times of COVID-19, and the UN is a vital partner for Laos in accelerating progress towards the national development goals.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has affected all of us, and it is important to work together to overcome these challenges starting from the immediate response towards recovery. The Lao government sees the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund as a valuable opportunity to engage the UN capacity and expertise in ensuring the protection of Lao communities from COVID-19 and maintaining essential health services,” he said.
UN Resident Coordinator in Laos, Ms Sara Sekkenes said, “Successful planning of these projects highlights the value of partnerships and coordinated collective efforts across the government ministries and UN Country Team, and the projects’ efficient implementation depends on further multidimensional coordination.
“With this framing, the UN in Laos aims to support the acceleration of public health preparedness, further contribute to the socio-economic analysis and develop meaningful protection and recovery interventions to support those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
One of the projects focuses on supporting provincial health preparedness and surge capacity for point of entry and surveillance. The project will see UN agencies, funds, and programmes working with the Ministries of Public Security and Home Affairs to support provincial and district-level COVID-19 preparedness by targeting border authorities and providing training and information on COVID-19 screening.
The second project aims at supporting essential health and nutrition services for mothers, newborns, children, and adolescents at a time of COVID-19 when the risk of disruption is high.
Supported by Member States, the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund was launched together with the “United Nations Framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19: Shared responsibility, global solidarity and urgent action for people in need”.
 It will finance initiatives that enable governments and communities to: (a) tackle the health emergency; (b) address social impacts and implement economic response measures; and (c) recover better by building more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies. Currently the Fund has received contributions from Denmark, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. The financial requirements of the Fund are projected at US$1 billion in 2020 and will be subsequently reviewed.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update May 21, 2020)

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