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Lao leader voices concerns at SDG Summit

Laos needs further support from development partners and creditors to achieve success in prioritised courses of action towards fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
This includes finding sustainable solutions to the country’s economic and financial challenges, which should take into account Laos’ specific context and needs and align with the national agenda and frameworks.

Mr Saleumxay Kommasith (right) speaks at the Sustainable Development Goals Summit in New York, USA.

This was the message from Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Saleumxay Kommasith, when addressing the SDG Summit in New York, USA, on the topic “Mobilising finance and investments and the means of implementation for SDG achievement”.
The Summit was convened at the mid-point in the 2030 Agenda, providing an opportunity for the international community to reaffirm its political will and commitment to accelerate the implementation of the global development agenda, Mr Saleumxay observed.
We all acknowledge the falling behind in the global attempt to achieve this over-arching development framework, he added.
With the alarming signal that only 15 percent of the targets are on track, we must now clearly understand the upcoming tasks and the importance of urgent and ambitious actions that need to be delivered for the remainder of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Minister said.
It is evident that, among contributing factors, one of the pivotal missing pieces is the adequate mobilisation of resources required to overcome the significant development challenges we face.
In this regard, we refer to (and support) the call by the Secretary General for the fundamental reform of the international financial architecture and global institutions.
This measure can be taken to address financing injustices and create a more equitable and functional global financial system. Also, supported by the proposed SDG Stimulus, it will surely assist in providing affordable long-term financing and expanding contingency financing for countries in pressing need.
However, irrespective of agreements and commitments made towards financing for sustainable development, there remains doubt in translating these frameworks into actionable steps that can make a difference in the acceleration of SDG fulfilment.
In this connection, we support a robust call for turning financing frameworks into action. This is a manifold undertaking that requires an all-inclusive and comprehensive effort from all stakeholders involved to bridge the gap between policies, strategies and implementation, to ensure that the financing is available.
Laos has made significant progress towards fulfilling some of the SDGs, but many indicators have stagnated or regressing. These constitute priority goals where negative trends need to be addressed. In addition to the 17 global SDGs, Laos has its national goal SDG18 to make lives safe from unexploded ordnance (UXO).
Although most of its indicators have been advanced in varying degrees, the UXO issue remains a threat to Laos’ development and national efforts for poverty eradication.
While grappling with the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic in the last few years, the global economic downturn has resulted in Laos’ financial capacity becoming increasingly constrained.
This financial limitation makes it more challenging to allocate the necessary resources to critical areas for sustainable development. Additionally, facing the accelerating negative impacts of climate change, Laos continues to struggle with limited technical capacity and complex climate finance options, making it difficult to navigate.
At the national level, Laos has embarked on implementing the SDG Stimulus through the Financing Strategy for the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan.
This Strategy, built on the Integrated National Financing Framework approach, identifies specific cross-government and national priorities to optimise the utilisation of all available resources to achieve development goals.
It incorporates the key macroeconomic reform recommendations from development partners, the UN country team, international financial institutions, and other stakeholders, which support the implementation of the National Agenda on addressing Laos’ financial and economic difficulties.
Pertaining to identifying means to finance and invest in SDG fulfilment, recommendations on measures for raising tax revenue, strengthening the governance of investment decisions, and seeking sustainable solutions to better manage debt.
“Laos would like to take this opportunity to echo the call for the international community, especially developed countries and development partners, to fulfill their commitment necessary for supporting developing countries, in particular LDCs and LLDCs, to advance SDG implementation and achieve this development objective together so that no one and no country will be left behind,” Mr Saleumxay said.

By Times Reporters
 (Latest Update September 22, 2023)

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