PHANKHAM VIPHAVANH, Prime Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, urged countries and scientists to make concerted efforts in the research and development of COVID-19 vaccines and medicines. He also called for cooperation on COVID-19 origin‑tracing and for the developed countries to enhance assistance to the developing and least developed countries. Underlining the negative impact of COVID-19 on his country’s national economic growth, he highlighted national efforts to implement the Istanbul Programme of Action to graduate from the least developed country status. Although the Lao People’s Democratic Republic successfully met all three criteria for graduation in the second review in February, he remained concerned that the impacts of COVID-19 might impair its competence to remain on track.
Actively participating and contributing under the framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), he stressed his country’s commitment to reducing the disparity in development and promoting the intra-ASEAN and interregional connectivity. This focus included the implementation of the fourth Initiative for ASEAN Integration and the Masterplan for ASEAN Connectivity 2025, which aims to promote infrastructure development, poverty reduction and sustainable development in the region. One of the milestone events among his country’s efforts in promoting regional integration and economic infrastructure development was the inauguration of the Boten-Vientiane high-speed railway, built to connect China and the Lao People's Democratic Republic, by the end of 2021. This will mark his country’s first‑ever railway and the beginning of the transformation from a landlocked country into a land-linked one promoting regional trade.
He called for the lifting of the economic embargo on Cuba, which would enable the country to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 and sustain self‑development. He also called on relevant parties to resume dialogues and mutual trust-building to solve the issues remaining in the establishment of two sovereign States of Palestine and Israel, peacefully coexisting under the relevant United Nations resolutions.
Turning to climate change, he spotlighted how his country was integrating its commitment under the Paris Agreement into its National Socio-Economic Development Plan and the National Green Growth Strategy. From 2000 to 2020, his country’s greenhouse‑gas emissions were lowered by 34 per cent in comparison with the baseline. Furthermore, in its nationally determined contribution presented to the United Nations, his Government has targeted to reduce 60 per cent of greenhouse‑gas emissions by 2030. As well, he called on States to support the Lao People’s Democratic Republic candidature for membership of the Economic and Social Council for the term 2023-2025.
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