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Lao assesses cost of meeting millennium goals

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Article from Vientiane Times
Author: Time Reporters
Published: 14/05/2010
Newspaper section: International Cooperation

Laos needs to spend US$6.3 billion over the next five years to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and shed its leastdeveloped country status by 2020, the Ministry of Planning and Investment reported yesterday. The report was presented at the Millennium Development Goals Costing Launch held in Vientiane yesterday. The report was prepared by the ministry's Department of Planning, with support from the United Nations. The report attempts to estimate the resources needed to meet the MDGs in Laos by 2015, and its findings are expected to feed into the formulation of the government's 7th Five Year Plan for 2011 to 2015. Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Bounthavy Sisouphanthong stressed that "meeting the MDGs is the main aim of the

7th Five Year Plan". "We are focusing on the social development plan, because the government highlights the improvement of human resources as key." "To make the national economy grow sustainably, we need the contribution of all Lao people." According to Dr Bounthavy, it has taken two years to develop the 7th Five Year Plan with the contributions and assistance of various parties and international organisations, especially UNDP. Department of Planning and Investment Director General Dr Khamlien Polsena said the Millennium Development Goals had been integrated into the plan. "So it is very important to know the investment needed to achieve this goal." "If we can achieve the goals of the 7th Five Year Plan, we also can achieve the MDGs by 2015 and take Laos off the least developed country list by 2020." "The report covers not only the amount of investment required, but also the activities that need to be done," he said. "The report will be a good reference for the government, organisations and also the private sector to help them contribute to achieving these goals." To be successful, he said, the economy needs to grow by 8 percent annually and revenue collection must be 18-19 percent of GDP. The target for capital income is US$1,700 per person per year by 2015. According to the report, achieving the 7th Five Year Plan will require about US$1.26 billion per year over the next five years, a total of US$6.3 billion. The report set out a list of over 200 interventions needed to achieve the plan, which are spread across eight sectors in eight ministries. The sectors are agriculture, education, energy, environment, gender, health, transport, and water and sanitation. Examples of such interventions include facilitating agricultural trade, creating opportunities for women, strengthening climate change control systems, bringing electricity to rural areas, and promoting the use of renewable fuels. The MDGs aim to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a Global Partnership for Development.