Lao People's Democratic Republic
H. E. Mr. Thongloun Sisoulith, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs
29 September 2008
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THONGLOUN SISOULITH, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, said “development remains central and must come first” in order to achieve the interlinked goals of peace and human rights. Turning to the specific situation of landlocked developing countries, he highlighted obstacles that hampered economic development, namely basic infrastructure, limits in access to markets, capital and new technology.
He stressed the importance of international cooperation in order to achieve effective implementation of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. The upcoming midterm review of the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action was an opportunity to assess progress made and constraints encountered. He called for broader reforms to create a more robust and effective United Nations, especially to reinforce the Organization’s development pillars, and of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Reform should also include strengthening the regional commissions of the Economic and Social Council, as well as the role and authority of the General Assembly, as the primary deliberative and policy-making body. The addition of new permanent and non-permanent members to increase representation on the Security Council was also necessary, he added.
The sudden increase in oil and food prices has contributed to the current economic instability worldwide, with a more amplified impact on developing countries with lower financial and technical capacities to withstand such shocks. To help counter this, he called on delegations to seriously consider the creation of a global food bank and an international food fund, as well as for implementation of the Rome Declaration on food security adopted in June. Among other actions, he urged global energy policies that supported poverty reduction and sustainable development in developing countries.
On global warming, which he said had led to many other social and economic problems, States should apply the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and ensure full implementation of the Bali Roadmap. In all efforts, integration of the three components of sustainable development -- economic growth, social development, and environmental protection –- was crucial. On that note, though his country had been enjoying solid political stability and social order, a severe flood this year had inflicted major material losses nationwide. In addition, rising oil prices, inflation and the global economic slowdown were now posing obstacles to the achievement of economic prosperity.
Despite this, there had been significant socio-economic development in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, reflected by high, sustained growth in gross domestic product (GDP) as a result of improvements in basic infrastructure and human resources, with the cooperation of international partners. He said his country’s determination to pursue twin strategies of poverty eradication and regional integration, and the extrication of his country “from the shackles of underdevelopment” by 2020.