A call to a green and resilient response to COVID-19
22 September 2020
Vientiane, 18 September 2020 – Friday, the Government of Lao PDR and the United Nations held a High-level Thematic Policy Dialogue on “Green Growth, Resilience and Risk Management in Lao PDR” to discuss how sustainability can be weaved as a core thread through national response and development planning in a time of increasing stress due to COVID-19.
This was the fifth and final thematic policy dialogue under a Multi-Stakeholder Taskforce convened to study the implications of COVID-19 in support of a determination of the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) and informing SDG localization in the Lao PDR.
Lao PDR has a longstanding commitment to fostering greener and more sustainable development, including developing a cross-sectoral Green Growth Strategy. Building resilience to disruptions and better managing risks have also been identified as national priorities, as the country ranks high on vulnerability and susceptibility to hazards and disasters according to the World Risk Report 2019.
The dialogue reflected on the social-economic implications of the pandemic over the next 5-year planning period, and possible strategic recalibrations to plans in light of the changing context. It generated a strong call to ‘building back better’ and prioritizing a green COVID-19 recovery. It was emphasized that the response to the pandemic offers an opportunity to move beyond “business as usual” by creating an enabling policy environment and prioritizing investments that support a sustainable and resilient future.
This dialogue was co-chaired by H.E. Dr. Saynakhone Inthavong, Vice Minister, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Ms. Sara Sekkenes, UN Resident Coordinator, with participation from, among others, the Ministries of Planning Investment, of Natural Resources and Environment, of Labour and Social Welfare, and of Agriculture and Forestry, the National Institute for Economic Research, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, the embassies of Japan, the US, Australia, and the UK, the Swiss as well as the French Development and Cooperation Agencies , the Global Green Growth Institute as well as the UN Agencies in Lao PDR.