United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


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Intervention by
H. E. Mr. Chansy Phosikham
Minister of Finance of the Lao People's Democratic Republic
at the High-Level Segment of the 13 th Session
of the Commission on Sustainable Development
(CSD-13) on "Turning Political Commitments into Action"
New York, 21 April 2005
Mr. Chairman,
Having heard comments made by previous speakers, we are of the view that our
current deliberations should contribute toward speeding up the implementation of the
commitments contained in Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation,
particularly in the areas of water, sanitation and human settlement. The decisions we are .
going to adopt at this session should serve as practical approaches to addressing these
cross-cutting issues at the national, sub-regional, regional, and global levels.
In the Lao PDR, our Government is making every effort to implement its National
Growth and Poverty Eradication Strategy (NGPES) or localized Poverty Reduction
Strategy Paper, with an emphasis on the issues of water and sanitation. This includes the
development of necessary infrastructure to ensure greater access of the population,
specially rural, to clean water and sanitation, thus improving the quality of their lives.
Between 1990-2002, the proportion of the population with access to a safe source of
water increased from 28 to 58 percent, and the population with access to improved
sanitation from 11 to 42 per cent . For the year 2004, the coverage of clean water supply
has improved up to 65 percent.
With the assistance from the international community, our Government has
developed sound water and sanitation policies, strategies, investment plans and
regulations to ensure sector sustainability and growth. In 1996, the Government
introduced a Law on Water and Water Resources, presented a National Rural Water
Supply and Sanitation Strategy in 1997 and established the Water Supply Authority
(WASA) in 1999. It also enacted a Law on Hygiene, Disease Prevention and Health
Promotion in 2001.
In an effort to meet the Government's objective of providing 80 percent of the
population with access to safe water by 2015, attention has been paid to increasing
coverage with priority given to the poorest, least accessible and vulnerable regions. This
involves delivery of sustainable services through community participation, cost-sharing
and the decentralization of planning and implementation processes.
Although human settlement has not been a major problem in Laos, the
Government has started to formulate a long-term strategy and policies on land use,
housing, urban services, infrastructure development and environmental protection in
order to accommodate the future expansion of the urban areas.
Despite difficulties and challenges facing us as a landlocked and least developed
country, we will do our utmost to continue implementing our international commitments,
including those on these complex and cross-cutting issues. Yet, our efforts could not be
successful unless sufficient institutional and human capacity are ensured to implement
the NGPES 'toward meeting those commitments, including the MDGs. So, increased
development assistance should be forthcoming to enable us to meet our investment
requirements in order to ensure adequate rural water supplies, effective operation and
maintenance of the existing water supply systems and the establishment of a national
water sector monitoring system... In this connection, we earnestly look forward to
continued support and assistance from the donor community.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.