CLOSING REMARKS: Theme 4: Green Growth, Resilience, and Risk Management, Multi-Stakeholder Taskforce to study the impact of COVID-19 to support a Determination of the 9th NSEDP and SDG Localization in Lao PDR
Theme 4: Green Growth, Resilience, and Risk Management
Ms. Sara Sekkenes, UN Resident Coordinator
Friday 18th September (9:30-11:30)
Excellency Dr. Saynakhone,
Esteemed Government partners,
Colleagues, Ladies & Gentlemen,
- I would like to express my sincere thanks for your participation and engagement in the discussion this morning.
- In countries across the world, COVID-19 is challenging policymakers’ abilities to respond to rapidly changing and uncertain circumstances.
- In Lao PDR, the pandemic is unfolding at the same time as we work to develop the 9th NSEDP - making it particularly difficult to priorities, and set the right priorities for the next 5-year plan for socio-economic development.
- At the same time, it also creates an opportunity to recalibrate or even to reboot. By taking this moment to carefully reflect on what the disruption we are seeing means for development policy, we can make strategic decisions that offer the best chance of reaching our development aspirations in spite of the circumstances- and indeed set a new and more sustainable development trajectory.
- Today’s discussion aimed at addressing some of the core objectives set out for the 9th NSEDP - making it both greener and more sustainable. These have long been national development objectives, but the shock from COVID-19 provides a fresh opportunity to think about where we search for economic growth and indeed on what future we want.
- It gives us a chance to set policy that will bring about economic development that can be maintained - creating opportunities and a more prosperous future for the growing generations of Laotians that will be entering the labour market over the coming decades. .
- Through this dialogue, we hoped to pool our knowledge through a frank, open discussion. In turn, we hoped that this will form the basis for a shared understanding of the strategic policy decisions that give us the best chance of achieving our development aspirations in the post-COVID environment.
- We have discussed some of the challenges Lao PDR faces in terms of bringing about greener and more sustainable growth, the strategies that have been developed to overcome them, and how COVID-19 may warrant some adaptations. This has included starting to identify:
- which investments that are most critical in shifting the development trajectory,
- the patterns that are emerging that could undermine efforts to better control our environmental footprint,
- as well as thinking about how investment can be mobilized in support of more sustainable development, given the extremely limited fiscal space available.
- Green growth, resilience, and risk management are critical lenses through which many of the recommendations that have emerged through the dialogue series should be considered, so it is fitting that this has been the last in our series of five thematic policy dialogues.
- As a next step, for each, we will now work to prepare a short outcome document – drawing on the background paper- setting out the key elements of discussion, and our strategic recommendations on possible ways forward as suggested by the Multi-Stakeholder Taskforce.
- These will then be presented at the upcoming meeting of the Sector Working Group Chairs and Co-Chairs on 28th September.
- Vice Minister Kikeo and I will count on the technical leads from all the sessions joining that discussion, to help take forward the process of translating the strategic discussion we have had into concrete implications for the 9th NSEDP.
- With this, I thank all of you again for your participation today, and in particular to the technical team from:
- Ministry of Natural Resources and Envidonment (MONRE)
- National Institute for Economic Reserch (NIER)
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB)
- The World Bank
- UN Disatster Risk Reduction UNDRR in Bangkok
- The UN Environmental Programme, with colleagues also in Bangkok
- With support from:
- I would also like to thank MPI, Mme. Phonevanh Outhavong and Mme. Sisomboun Ounavong and the team, the interpreter for being with us throughout the series of policy dialogues, and my own team at the Residnet Coordinators Office for all your hard work in the lead up to each and every event.
- Thank you and I wish you well for the remainder of the day and a good weekend.