Your Excellency Mr. Somdy Douangdy, Deputy Prime Minister of Lao PDR,
Your Excellency Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to be here with you to launch this partnership agreement between the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the United Nations.
I am very pleased to be back in Laos, where I have many friends and happy memories from my last visit in 2009, and before that, my time as Foreign Minister.
Laos made impressive progress on meeting the Millennium Development Goals, particularly on reducing poverty and hunger, universal access to primary education, the reduction of maternal and child mortality, and access to safe water and sanitation.
This is an excellent foundation for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, agreed by all world leaders last year. The 2030 Agenda provides a universal action plan for people, planet, peace and prosperity.
I am delighted to learn that you have already built the 17 Sustainable Development Goals into your National Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2016-2020. I congratulate you on creating your own national Goal 18 on unexploded ordnance.
One of the most important aspects of the 2030 Agenda is that the SDGs are indivisible. Each goal depends on the achievement of others. For example, ending child malnutrition comes under Goal 2, but will require action &ampampnbspon Goal 3 – health, Goal 4 – education, and many of the other Goals and targets.
Universal human rights are the foundation for the SDGs.&ampampnbsp Human rights inform every goal and target, but particularly Goal 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies, access to justice and accountable institutions.
Peace and security, sustainable development and human rights are the three pillars of the United Nations, and none of these can advance on its own. Like the SDGs, the three pillars are indivisible and mutually reinforcing. Lack of respect for human rights will create divisions, exacerbate inequalities, increase the risks to security and put a brake on development.
I am therefore pleased to see that Outcome 8 of this Partnership Framework focuses on access to justice and fulfilment of human rights.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Partnership Framework we are launching today includes 21 UN agencies with a combined annual budget of $80 million for technical cooperation.
The Government and people of Laos can count on significant resources, great expertise and a UN Team who will deliver as one to support your national priorities -- with the long-term objectives of achieving the SDGs and graduating from Least Developed Country status.
In keeping with the promise to leave no one behind and help those farthest behind first, the United Nations will focus on supporting the Government’s efforts to help the most vulnerable: poor children and young people women in remote rural areas people from disadvantaged ethnic groups and people with disabilities.
I wish you all the greatest success in implementing this framework, and I thank you for the important work you are doing.