Press Release

Government of Lao PDR and United Nations sign 2022-2026 Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, strengthening the UN’s support to the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan

16 November 2021

Vientiane, 16 November 2021 – The Government of Lao PDR, represented by H.E. Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the United Nations (UN), represented by Ms. Sara Sekkenes, UN Resident Coordinator to Lao PDR, officially signed the 2022-2026 Lao PDR-UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF).

The brief signing ceremony took place a day ahead of the 13th High-Level Round Table Meeting, at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in Vientiane, with limited physical participation, acknowledging the ongoing rise of COVID-19 infections in the country’s capital.

Succeeding the 2017-2021 Lao PDR- UN Partnership Framework, the 2022-2026 UNSDCF is the first since the reform of the UN development system, ushered in by the adoption by UN General Assembly Resolution 72/279 in 2018, transforming the way the UN works, building a platform for greater coordination, coherence, effectiveness, and development impact.

The implementation of the UN Reform through the UNSDCF is characterised by strengthened alignment to national development priorities, comprehensive and interconnected strategic priorities, a structure underpinned by results-based management principles, streamlined coordination mechanisms, and a practical and targeted monitoring and evaluation framework.

The signing officially marks the end of a process that started in August 2020, with the adoption of an agreed roadmap between the UN and the Government of Lao PDR on the further elaboration of the new Framework. The formulation process was highly consultative, with numerous exchanges held between UN entities, together with the Government of Lao PDR, with development partners, civil society, and private sector representatives to seek and reflect broad-based views and aspirations. The signing also allows for the beginning of the implementation of the SDCF on 1 January 2022.

The UNSDCF is aligned with the overarching directions and six pillars of the 2021-2025 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan. Underpinned by the Common Country Assessment (CCA), the UN’s independent analysis of development opportunities and challenges in Lao PDR, and a thorough evaluation of the previous Partnership Framework, the UNSDCF also mainstreams UN guiding principles for development cooperation seeking to Leave No One Behind, through the application of a Human-Rights Based Approach, addressing Women Empowerment and Gender Equality, Resilience, Sustainability, and Accountability.

The UNSDCF represents the contributions to sustainable development of twenty-five Agencies, Funds, and Programmes of the UN Development System[1]. The Framework will be implemented through four transformational strategic priorities: People’s Wellbeing, Inclusive Prosperity, Governance and the Rule of Law, and Environment, Climate Change and Resilience. Corresponding outcomes anticipate that, by 2026, people, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised, …

… will have more equitable and inclusive access to and will benefit from better quality health, nutrition, food, shelter, protection, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), and education and learning, including during emergencies.

… will benefit from more inclusive, resilient, transformative, and sustainable socio-economic and demographic opportunities to reduce poverty and inequalities.

…are better served by public institutions at all levels in a transparent and inclusive manner, able to exercise their rights and obligations and the institutions shall be strengthened and more accountable while the rule of law and international human rights commitments made by Lao PDR are upheld.

… and institutions will be better able to sustainably access, manage, preserve, and benefit from natural resources and promote green growth that is risk-informed, disaster and climate-resilient.

To realise these ambitions, the UN country team will work collaboratively across twenty-one joint outputs, bringing together Agencies, Funds, and Programmes with specific expertise to help national counterparts advance development progress and tackle Lao PDR’s development challenges. In UNICEF’s capacity as co-chair of the results group on People’s Wellbeing, Representative Dr. Pia Rebello Britto noted that “The UN team will be working towards ensuring quality services for all, especially the most vulnerable groups, including children, in an equitable and inclusive manner. Our goal is to achieve the wellbeing of the entire Lao PDR population, leaving no one behind”.

Representing the Inclusive Prosperity results group, ILO National Coordinator Ms. Khemphone Phaokhamkeo added “under the new Cooperation Framework, the UN will be working more effectively with the government, private sector and workers’ representatives to support the shift to a more inclusive economic model- addressing the impacts of the pandemic and building forward better”.

The UN is a longstanding partner of the Government and people of Lao PDR with WHO as its first entity to establish in-country offices in 1962, and with many more in the years that followed. With an estimated USD 500 million of development investments across the next five years, the UN will work with partners to seize development opportunities and tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time, including COVID-19 recovery, the triple planetary crisis of climate change, loss of biodiversity and environmental degradation, securing a sustainable LDC Graduation, and necessary investments in social sectors for an inclusive, prosperous, and equitable future for all and that leaves no one behind.

On this occasion, H.E. Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed his appreciation to the continued cooperation and support by the UN to the Lao PDR for the past years, which significantly contributed to the economic-social development in the Lao PDR, and hoped that the UN would continue to provide support and assistance in the future, in particular, in the areas of response to the outbreak and the Covid-19 recovery efforts, climate change, sustainable development, support the Lao PDR to graduate from the LDC status as well as other relevant development areas.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Lien Le Thi Huong

Head of Communications, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office to Lao PDR



[1] Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the UN Secretariat (DESA); the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO); International Labour Organisation (ILO); International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); International Organisation for Migration (IOM); International Trade Centre (ITC); Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR); Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF); United Nations Commission On International Trade Law (UNCITRAL); UN Convention on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); UN Development Programme (UNDP); UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR); UN Environment Programme (UNEP); UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); UN Population Fund (UNFPA); UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); UN Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF); UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO); UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS); UN Volunteers (UNV); World Food Programme (WFP); World Health Organisation (WHO) under the overall lead and coordination of the UN Resident Coordinators Office (UN RCO)

UN entities involved in this initiative

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Fund for Agricultural Development
International Labour Organization
International Organization for Migration
International Trade Centre
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
United Nations Human Settlements Programme
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
United Nations Capital Development Fund
United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
United Nations Development Programme
UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
United Nations Office for Project Services
United Nations Volunteers
World Food Programme
World Health Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative