H.E.MR. SOUBANH SRITHIRATH
MINITER TO THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
OF THE LAO PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
24' SPECIAL SESSION OF THE
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENTGeneva, June 30, 2000
However, we are witnessing negative impact and unfavorable environment in the five-year process of its implementation such as the resources allocated for social development have declined; the burden of external debt has grown; and with liberalization of capital flows, the World has become more vulnerable to sudden financial shocks with severe social and economic consequences. All this has caused the serious impediments on the way to achieve social development.
My delegation fully shares the views expressed by many previous delegates that
the World has become a more unequal place, both within and between the nations,
with increasing inequalities in income, employment, access to the social services
and opportunities for participation in public and civil society institutions.
Although, globalization has created opportunities for all economies, it has
also posed major challenges for the developing countries, particularly the least
In the light of the above, the international community, particularly the United Nations has a crucial and coordinating role to play in order to solve this problem, to mobilize financial resources and to provide technical assistance to the developing countries, especially the least developed and land- locked developing countries.
The consensus reached at the World Summit on Social Development is indeed the implicit objective of the Lao Government's Socio-Economic Development Programmes, which aim at improving the well being of people, providing the social services and gradual reduction of poverty. All our efforts have been made towards their implementation. Since 1996, The Government's budget allocation to social sector has increased from 11 % to 19%.
The encouraging achievements have been reached. From 1993 to 1998 the poverty incidence has fallen from 46 per cent to 39 per cent. In additions, there have been some significant progress in education and health; the rate of primary school attendance has increased up to 76% in 1999; the under one year- old mortality rate has reduced from 125/1000 to 113/1000, and under the five year- old mortality rate has reduced from 182/1000 to 142/1000.
Public health care has expanded in recent years at both the village and district levels throughout the country. The Immunization Programme has expanded to the most villages. New programmes for maternal health/safe motherhood are established. AIDS control and prevention have been given an adequate attention.Mr. President,
Despite of the significant achievements in education and health, we still continue facing with other major difficulties closely linked to the poverty alleviation, the transition to a market-driven economy, the consistent building-up of basic infrastructure and capacity building.
The people's living standards in the rural areas are one of our great concerns.
For this reason, the Lao Government has set up the Rural Development and Food
production Programmes, the objectives of which are to promote the market oriented
production and diversify agriculture and to access to the market and the basic
social services. For the first time, the paddy production output of 2,1 million
tons in 1999 has rendered the country self-sufficient in rice.
Furthermore, women and multi-ethnic minority groups are also our main target groups to be fairly treated in order to enable them to fully integrate into the society and to reap the benefit from the economic opportunities.
As a consequence of high inflation and depreciation of our national currency stemmed from Asian financial crisis, the Lao PDR has experienced negative effects of 'macroeconomic instability, which has been a major handicap for our attempts to increase social expenditure and to address the issues of unemployment. Presently, the situation in all fronts is getting stable.
In this context, I would like to take this opportunity to express our deep-felt gratitude to the international and donor community for their continued support to our development. Their valuable support has been indeed a significant factor complimented the national efforts in achieving the progress.
In concluding, while the primary responsibility in realizing the Copenhagen commitments lies on the national governments, the international cooperation and assistance, particularly in finance are essential for lasting success in putting these commitments into full implementation. The Lao PDR, on its part, will continue exerting all efforts to contribute to the process of translating the lofty goal of the Copenhagen Summit into action.
Thank you for your attention.