I would like to begin by extending my sincere congratulations to His Excellency Csaba Korosi on his election as President of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and I wish him successful presidency of this UNGA session. I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Lao PDR in this august Assembly.
We are at a critical juncture when the international community is facing multi-faceted challenges ranging from armed conflicts to environmental crises and economic down turn that setback global development. Multilateralism, which is always at the heart of international cooperation, has been undermined while unilateralism has been applied widely. These challenges, already exacerbated by Covid-19 pandemic, have hindered and reversed the development gains attained during past decades. The implementation of the SDGs has never before been so tarnished. It is disheartening that the most vulnerable peoples and countries are now suffering the most. Countries in special situations namely the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS which have endured the most difficult period coping with Covid-19 impacts, are additionally confronting climate, food and energy crises. It is more alarming than ever for the international community to find solutions, not only transformative, but also more practical, effective, action-oriented, sustainable and tailored to the most pressing needs, so the most vulnerable are not left behind.
Seventy-seven years after our United Nations was formed, we shall no longer be here in this august assembly to stage any claim, lecture, blame or shame one another. Our world needs greater attention, concerted efforts and common desire. “We”, as stipulated in the Charter, are the peoples of the United Nations. We shall gather here to find the most appropriate solutions and take the most urgent actions to address the problems we are all facing today. This cannot be done without firmly upholding the principles of the UN Charter and preserving multilateralism. Our United Nations was founded to prevent another catastrophic world war. Our shared wisdom and political will to find the most pragmatic and suitable solutions to multiple crises threatening us all today must lie on top of other individual (unilateral) interests. In doing so, we must strengthen our solidarity, cooperation and collaboration and must not create confrontation and division. As such, it is necessary, after more than seven decades, that the UN reform revitalizes and increases its ability to effectively address global problems.
In this context, the United Nations needs to effectively fulfill its mandate in maintaining international peace and security as well as in promoting development cooperation. It is our common desire that the United Nations be transformed in order to respond to the current global landscape and needs, in our joint effort to overcome the unfolding challenges which threaten international peace and development. The international community must find peaceful and lasting resolutions to any conflict and disputes around the world, including the Middle East problem. We believe that unilateral sanction or measures cannot be effective as it is not only contravened to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, but also hampers the national development of other countries. Sanctions regardless of their forms will only end up compromising one’s own interest as well as those of other and inflicts suffering on everyone. We must also give more opportunities to peaceful resolutions based on our mutual interests and build an environment conducive to development so as to safeguard the lasting peace and prosperity for all. In this regard, my delegation once again joins an overwhelming global call for lifting of the economic embargo on Cuba and putting an end to all unilateral coercive measures, which have caused more negative impacts on the innocent people.
ASEAN has enjoyed long lasting peace, security and stability, which served as favorable conditions for the national socio-economic development of all Member States. We in ASEAN, continue to promote regionalism and multilateralism that emphasize the importance of centrality, unity, inclusivity, mutual benefit and respect, which form a solid foundation in all essential frameworks of cooperation in ASEAN. The Lao PDR has actively participated and contributed with great responsibility under the framework of ASEAN to promote peace and stability. On this note, the Lao PDR considers the role played by ASEAN as crucial in creating an environment conducive to a return to normalcy in Myanmar and we should continue to engage Myanmar so as to ensure the continuation of delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Myanmar and to explore ways and means to ensure Myanmar’s full and effective implementation of the Five-Point Consensus towards tangible outcomes.
Since the inception of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, the Government of the Lao PDR has presented two Voluntary National Reviews in 2018 and 2021, reflecting progress made and challenges encountered in the implementation of SDGs through the National Socio-Economic Development Plans, and 2030 Vision and Green Growth Strategy.
Nevertheless, throughout the past 3 years, the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed direct impacts on socio-economic development of every country, especially least developed countries, including the Lao PDR. Therefore, the progress made prior to COVID-19 in the implementation of our national development and international commitments, like SDGs and others, has been severely undermined, affecting the livelihood of the people in all dimensions.
In addition, we are also facing extreme weather events due to climate change in different parts of the world. Like many other countries, the Lao PDR remains vulnerable to external shocks and has been severely affected by natural disasters especially extensive floodings. Over the years, our government has attached great importance to combating climate change through the implementation of the revised Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) that clearly outlines ambitious targets of the national actions for tackling and mitigating climate change towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. To this end, there is pressing need for adequate financial resources and technical support for gaining access to climate finance and other sources of funding to support developing countries, especially LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS to achieve their development goals and commitments made under the Paris Agreement. In this regard, we call for renewed political will coupled with concrete actions taken by the international community in the upcoming COP 27 to preserve our planet for many generations to come.
Having recognized multidimensional challenges and special needs of group of countries in special situations, the Lao PDR is strongly committed to the implementation of the internationally agreed development goals and Programmes of Action for LDCs, LLDCs and other UN development cooperation frameworks. The Lao PDR remains hopeful and firmly believes that multilateralism with the United Nations as a lead institution, the multiple crises and challenges the international community is facing can be appropriately addressed. We are strongly committed to supporting conflict resolutions through peaceful means, guided by the UN Charter and other relevant international laws. We trust that development cooperation for common interests and shared benefits must continue to be at the core of international relations. Towards this end, more action-oriented solutions and non-politicized approaches must be adopted. It is our hope that this UNGA 77 will offer the opportunities to enhance our solidarity and revive sustainable development paths in order for us to ensure transformative solutions for better livelihoods of our peoples and planet.
I would like to end my statement by expressing, on behalf of the Lao Government and people, my sincere appreciations to all member states for kind support for our membership of the ECOSOC, for the term 2023-2025. We stand ready to humbly serve and make meaningful contribution to the work of the ECOSOC and we pledge to discharge our duties in “advancing partnership towards a more resilient and sustainable world”.