SALEUMXAY KOMMASITH, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, observed that the international community is currently facing multiple crises, following the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing extreme poverty, external debt and an unjust international financial architecture, as well as natural calamities in many parts of the world, including those that recently occurred in Morocco and Libya. Such challenges are compounded by regional tensions and unilateral measures, which hamper developmental progress. Against this backdrop, he called for unified and collective actions guided by the Charter and for the resolute avoidance of confrontation and division among Member States.
To this end, he called for the reform of the United Nations, enhancing its relevance and effectiveness and enabling it to address challenges to international peace, security and sustainable development. Global conflicts and disputes must be resolved through peaceful means, he said, calling for an immediate end to the conflict in Ukraine through peaceful dialogues to avoid its impacts on the world from continuing. As well, he called for a peaceful solution to be reached to the Middle East problem, with a view to solving the long-overdue Palestinian issue through the establishment of two sovereign States in line with relevant United Nations resolutions. In addition, he joined the global call for the lifting of the economic embargo on Cuba and for that country to be removed from the list of State sponsors of terrorism. On sustainable development, he noted that many countries lag in implementing the 2030 Agenda as its midpoint approaches.
Collective efforts must be strengthened, including through harnessing science and technology to accelerate innovation-driven growth, he continued, adding that this message was echoed by the leaders of developing countries at the recent “Group of 77” developing countries and China summit. Further, he called for greater coordination on the part of the United Nations development system, its partners and the international financial system to scale up the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, with the United Nations helping coordinate resource mobilization to ensure that the needs of countries in special situations are met. Insufficient financing is a key obstacle in implementing the Goals, he emphasized, echoing Secretary-General António Guterres’ call for the reform of the global financial system who had described the system as “biased, morally bankrupt and skewed to benefit wealthy countries”. Against this backdrop, he called for the participation of developing countries to be strengthened in international decision-making and norm-setting.
Turning to national development, he noted that his country intends to achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, to which it has added an eighteenth: “Achieve lives safe from unexploded ordnance”. He called on the international community to help his country achieve this goal. His Government is carrying out its third voluntary national review to assess which Sustainable Development Goals require more attention; it will present this review at the 2024 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Turning to his country’s graduation efforts from the least developed countries category, he highlighted its national Smooth Transition Strategy, focused on development priorities. He also called for an enhancement of climate finance and technical assistance for developing countries, pointing out that the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is among those who contribute the least to global emissions, while facing the brunt of climate change impacts.
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