The United Nations in Lao PDR

The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Lao PDR, consisting of all the UN specialised Agencies, Funds and Programmes serving the country, together with the World Bank, supports the localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Lao PDR's national development targets through sustainable and equitable socio-economic development. The UNCT works as one to help the Government and people of Lao PDR fight poverty by ensuring a rights-based approach to development, supporting the sustainable use of natural resources and preservation of cultural heritage, and promoting human rights, gender equality and good governance. The UN focuses its assistance on the most vulnerable and poor, in particular women, children and youth.

In support of the 18 national development goals, the UNCT collaborates with the Government and the broader development community, including civil society and private sector. The work of the UN in Lao PDR is guided by the Lao PDR – United Nations Partnership Framework. 

The UNCT is led by the UN Resident Coordinator. 

The UN-supported boat racing team in Lao PDR on a crusade against single-use plastics.
The UN-supported boat racing team in Lao PDR on a crusade against single-use plastics.


  1. Sustainable Development. With nearly 60% national planning indicators linked to SDG indicators, Lao PDR presented its first Voluntary National Review on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in 2018. In 2016, Lao PDR adopted its national SDG18 on ‘Lives Safe from UXO’.
  2. Decent Livelihoods. Lao PDR is investing in decreasing poverty and improving opportunities for employment. In 2018, the UN declared Lao PDR eligible to graduate from the Least Developed Country status as the country met the criteria of human assets and GNI per capita.
  3. Social Protection. Lao PDR prioritizes improved access to social protection benefits, including the most vulnerable. In 2016, the UN introduced Noi, a fictive advocacy figure to represent Lao adolescent girls. In 2019, Lao PDR renewed its social commitments under international mechanisms.
  4. Climate Change, Disaster Management, Environment. Lao PDR is strengthening disaster management through its National Disaster Recovery Framework. It was the first ASEAN country to ratify the Paris Agreement in 2015. In 2019, the National Green Growth Strategy was adopted.
  5. Education. Lao PDR has achieved universal coverage in primary enrolment and aims to improve access to inclusive and equitable education. In 2019, Lao PDR reviewed its commitment under the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.
  6. Health, Water and Sanitation. Lao PDR is improving access to quality health services, water and sanitation, and moved forward with implementation of the National Health Insurance in 2019.
  7. Food Security and Nutrition. Lao PDR is strongly committed to improving food security, especially for the most vulnerable, and is developing a nutrition surveillance system.
  8. Institution Building. Lao PDR is improving delivery of public services and strengthening national and local institutions and policies. In 2017, the Lao Social Indicator Survey II was carried out with UN support.
  9. Access to Justice. Lao PDR aims at ensuring that people enjoy improved access to justice and fulfillment of their human rights. In 2020, Lao PDR participated in the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review.

The Sustainable Development Goals in Lao PDR

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. In addition to 17 global goals, in 2016 the Government of Lao PDR has formally launched the national SDG18, ‘Lives Safe from UXO’ (unexploded ordnance), in the presence of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. As UXO remains an issue affecting national development in multiple dimensions, Lao PDR's output under the SDG18 contributes to the national outcomes under all the other SDGs. On the present map, some of the activities attributed to Vientiane are those which are carried out across the whole country.