Statement by H.E. Mr. Saleumxay KOMMASITH, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic at the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), on 6 March 2023, in Doha, Qatar.
At the outset, I would like to congratulate you on your election as President of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries. Let me also express our sincere appreciation to the Government and the people of the State of Qatar for the excellent organization of this significant conference and for the generosity and the warm hospitality extended to us.
The implementation of the Istanbul Program of Action (IPOA 2011-2020) has allowed the LDCs to make some progress but still uneven. The LDCs have been severely affected by the multiple challenges particularly the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, financial difficulties, food and energy crises and armed conflicts, which further exacerbated their already existing structural vulnerabilities, limited productive capacity and extreme poverty. All of this has not only undermined the LDCs’ ability to sustain the progress made but also further imposing a serious threat to revert the decade long progress.
Against this backdrop, the adoption of the Doha Program of Action for LDCs (DPoA) marks an important milestone for the international community to help the LDCs to achieve rapid recovery from the Pandemic, build resilience against future shock, eradicate extreme poverty, achieve graduation and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Now it is urgent for the international community to double efforts to ensure the effective and timely implementation of the Doha Program of Action by fulfilling commitments contained therein. The LDCs are in need of enhanced international support measures and strengthened partnerships more than ever so that they can move forward from their potential to prosperity, and importantly that no-one and no-country will be left behind.
In the year 2000, the Lao PDR set its goals for LDC graduation by 2020. Since then, it has been pursuing this ultimate objective through integrating LDC Programmes of Action into its national socio-economic development strategy from 2001 to date. As a result of two consecutive reviews in 2018 and 2021, the Lao PDR was recommended for graduation despite the setback caused by the outbreak of Covid-19 that undermined many progress and achievements attained prior to Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, given the negative impact posed by Covid outbreak, the Lao PDR has given an extended transitional period by the year 2026.
We are well-aware that to maintain this hard-earned achievement in the midst of on-going challenges, it is decisive that we prepare and build a momentum of continued development progress beyond graduation. To this end, we have been working closely with the UN Country Team and all relevant stakeholders to formulate the Smooth Transition Strategy that lays out policies and priority actions critical to our smooth, quality and sustainable graduation.
Graduating from LDC status requires not only strong commitments and concrete actions by the national government but also by the international community as a whole. We therefore call for continued partnership, cooperation and international support during graduation, transition and beyond graduation. The international community should support the promotion of export diversification, provision of easy and flexible access to climate mitigation and adaptation finance on a concessional basis, transfer appropriate technology and capacity building, and honor ODA commitment pledged for the least developed countries.
We look forward to a fruitful outcome of the conference that would enhance our partnership and cooperation for the next decade of building transformative change in the LDCs and the road from potential to prosperity.
I thank you.