At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

The Sustainable Development Goals build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – eight anti-poverty targets that the world committed to achieving by 2015. The MDGs, adopted in 2000, aimed at an array of issues that included slashing poverty, hunger, disease, gender inequality, and access to water and sanitation.

The new SDGs, and the broader sustainability agenda, go much further than the MDGs, addressing the root causes of poverty and the universal need for development that works for all people. In addition to the 17 global SDGs, Lao PDR has adopted an 18th national SDG on removing the unexploded ordnance obstacle to national development, together with its own set of indicators.

Key principles of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development include:

  • Universality: Implies that goals and targets are relevant to all governments and actors.
  • Integration: Policy integration means balancing all three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic growth and environmental protection. An integrated approach implies managing trade-offs and maximizing synergies across targets.
  • No one left behind: The principle of ‘no one left behind’ advocates countries to go beyond averages. The SDGs should benefit all – eradicating poverty and reducing inequalities. Promotion and use of disaggregated data is key.

The 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (8th NSEDP 2016-2020) has served as main entry point to integrate the Agenda 2030 into the national planning. It recognizes the requirement to better understand the needs of vulnerable groups, to be able to target them effectively through policy interventions.  The Prime Minister’s decree on MDGs has been revised to provide the legal basis for SDG implementation. The Prime Minister is chairing an inter-ministerial SDG Steering Committee to oversee and advise on the SDG implementation.

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) serves as the bridge between the local and international players.
  • The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) mainstreams the SDGs into national planning.
  • The Lao Statistics Bureau (LSB; currently part of MPI) supports monitoring to track progress.

The SDG secretariat at the MoFA, consisting of MoFA, MPI and LSB, provides support to the inter-ministerial Steering Committee.