Development partners pledge further assistance for Laos

By Asia News Network | Source: Vientiane Times
Development partners have pledged further assistance to Laos, President Choummaly Sayasone was told yesterday.

The pledge was made at the 11th High-Level Round Table Meeting (RTM) between the government and its development partners that took place on Tuesday in Vientiane.

The triennial meeting was held under the theme ‘Accelerating Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Achievement and Inclusive Development’. It brought together 400 representatives from the government, 35 international and national development partners and 37 countries around the world.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Thongloun Sisoulith led some of the development partners to pay a courtesy call on President Choummaly at the Presidential Palace to brief him on the successful outcome of the one-day meeting.

UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Haoliang Xu was among the guests.

The RTM suggested Laos attach great importance to maintaining macroeconomic stability to ensure steady economic growth and achieve the MDGs, the president was told, according to a press release distributed at the palace.

Delegates to the RTM recommended the government take accelerated action on off-track areas of the MDGs, notably vulnerable groups of women, children and ethnic groups living in remote communities by prioritising MDG-accelerated initiatives.

The meeting stressed the importance of transparency and the modernisation of economics, while giving greater attention to developing the private sector and small and medium enterprises, particularly in rural communities.

According to the press release the development partners agreed to extend further support and work with the Lao government to promote vocational education and the development of labour skills in the fields of industry and services.

Regarding the MDGs which Laos is facing a challenge to attain, the government pledged to exert even greater effort.

For MDG1 on eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, specifically on food security and nutrition, the development partners agreed with the Lao government’s approach to formulate an action plan jointly drawn up by various sectors in a move to address the malnutrition problem.

The government and development partners pledged to work together to accelerate MDG2 on achieving universal primary education.

The government committed to using stronger action to stop illegal logging in a move to ensure environmental sustainability as indicated in MDG7.

According to the press release the meeting proposed that the National Assembly play a greater role in developing the land policy and encouraging more discussion on the matter.

The development partners welcomed the Lao National Strategy for the clearance of unexploded ordnance as it would speed up the removal of the deadly devices. The meeting delegates also called for more emphasis on good governance.

The meeting agreed to establish a mechanism to follow up on the implementation of the meeting’s decisions.

President Choummaly Sayasone spoke highly of the meeting’s successful outcome.

Representing the Lao government and people, he expressed gratitude to the development partners for their valuable assistance and support, especially the official development assistance they have extended to Laos.