High-Level Consultation on the 9th NSEDP under the Roundtable Process: Technical Meeting - Opening Remarks

Opening Remarks, Ms. Sara Sekkenes, UN Resident Coordinator

Friday 11th December
ICTC, Vientiane and online via Zoom

Excellency and Chair Dr. Kikeo Chanthaboury, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment,

Esteemed partners from line ministries, Government institutions, and Provinces,

Distinguished Ambassadors and development partner representatives, present and online,

Dear Colleagues,

Ladies & Gentlemen,

 

To begin, I would like to express my appreciation to all participants for being here today, as we draw close to the end of the year, with all the commitments and time pressures that entails. Particular appreciation goes to those representatives from the provinces that have travelled to be here with us all today.

I would also like to thank the sponsors of today’s event- New Zealand as sponsors of support to the NSEDP, and Luxemburg as sponsors of the Roundtable process- and UNDP that provides technical support.

I would like to further congratulate the Ministry of Planning and Investment, your Excellency, Deputy Minister Kikeo, Director General Mme Phonevanh, and her team, for all the hard work that you have put into the development of the 9th NSEDP.

Before we turn to the objectives for this High-Level Consultation, I- like Deputy Minister Kikeo- would like to take a moment to reflect on the long journey in the development of the NSEDP so far.

None of us need reminding of how exceptional 2020 has been. So, I believe some heartfelt congratulations are in order for not only continuing the work on delivering a 5-year national plan despite all the disruption as a result of the pandemic, but working to develop a plan that makes sense in the uncertain context of COVID-19.

From looking at the 5th draft of the NSEDP, it is clear that an enormous amount of effort has gone into the preparation of the document, and MPI are to be commended for the consistently open approach they have demonstrated to the process from the outset.

We are now approaching the last mile in that journey. In the 5th draft, we find a consistent, evidence-based, and SDG-aligned document that sets a clear direction for policy priorities.

Our task now is to take this final, high-level, opportunity to provide constructive inputs to MPI as they work to finalize the document ahead of submission to the Party Congress and thereafter to the 1st session of the National Assembly in 2021.

To that end, I am very pleased to hear of the detailed and productive discussions during yesterday’s technical meeting to prepare for this event.

Combined, these two sessions of this Consultation, are a precious opportunity to pause and take stock of the progress that has been made.

I understand from colleagues that interventions made during the discussion yesterday consistently showed appreciation for the many strong additions over the past months.

We now see a much clearer articulation of the actions needed to address the financial situation through public financial management reform and commensurate increase in revenue collection. With traction, this can both support public investment in sustainable development, and encourage responsible and quality private sector investments.

We see clearer links between economic development and the consideration of environmental boundaries, with additions on environmental safeguards, green growth, and the circular economy. This will be particularly important given the climate change commitments that His Excellency Prime Minister Sisoulith will make tomorrow as part of the Climate Ambition Summit.

And we now have a clear and much reinforced articulation of how Lao PDR will work to ensure that no one is left behind in the development process, with the stronger focus on children and youth -which now has a specific output- gender, and vulnerable groups. In particular, as we work to build Lao PDR’s human capital, we see an increased focus on basic health, education and protective services to put in place a strong foundation for equitable and sustained development.

As we move towards the finalization of this document, I wish to share my appreciation once again, to MPI for their openness in considering the technical feedback shared yesterday and the further inputs that we will receive today, but also to development partners for their continued and constructive engagement.

We believe that this collaborative approach to development planning has contributed to strengthening the design of policy priorities to achieve development ambitions, through the nationally-owned Plan.

This is especially important as many development partners work on the development of programming strategies for the coming years, which will align with the 9th NSEDP policy priorities in support of their implementation.

Our task now turns to the consideration of the implementation arrangements in earnest. Many have stressed the importance of these as the vital tools to help turn the plan into measurable, achievable actions to which all of our efforts can be aligned and measured over the coming 5 years. They will be the three legs that will help us realize the NSEDP and make a difference on the ground, contributing to a more equitable and inclusive development for all.

I am therefore very pleased that we will have the opportunity to discuss the three planned workstreams on:

  1. The development of a robust, and yet manageable, M&E framework;
  2. Costing the key priorities set out in the plan; and
  3. The elaboration of a financing strategy for how the policy priorities identified can be taken forward within the limits of available resources, looking at the core set of 4 streams:
    1. international public financing, including ODA;
    2. international private financing, including  foreign direct investment and remittances;
    3. domestic public financing from tax revenue; and
    4. domestic private sector financing.

The proposals MPI has set out for how these will be taken forward call for a continued technical partnership under each of these workstreams over the course of the first quarter of next year.

This offers the opportunity for development partners to continue, and indeed deepen, our fruitful collaboration in these crucial areas. So, I would invite you all to consider joining this collaborative effort.

I conclude by again thanking all those here today and joining online for your participation.

I look forward to the discussion through this final round of feedback on the draft 9th NSEDP today, and then and on the next months of collaborative work ahead.

Speech by
Author
Ms. Sara Sekkenes
Resident Coordinator
RCO
Ms. Sara Sekkenes_Photo
UN entities involved in this initiative
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United Nations