Blue Patuxay illuminates 60 years of cooperation between Lao PDR and the United NationsOct 23, 2015
The Government and United Nations in Lao PDR commemorate the 70th year of existence of the United Nations and the 60th anniversary of the country’s partnership with the UN with a series of events.
“Towards sustainable development” reads the banner across Kaysone Phomvihane Road, highlighting 70 years of UN and 60 years of Lao PDR membership in the UN. The banner points to Patuxay, which on the three days surrounding UN Day – annually celebrated on 24 October to commemorate the signing of the UN Charter and thus the inception date of the United Nations – will be bathed in blue light.
Patuxay is a national landmark opened to the public in 1968. It represents not only the Lao people’s struggle for sovereignty, but its five towers also symbolise the country’s belief in peaceful coexistence among nations. Similar values are cherished by the UN, founded to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, promote social progress and better living standards, and encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms.
Ms. Kaarina Immonen, UN Resident Coordinator, said: “Blue, the colour of the United Nations, also represents stability and trust. These are the characteristics we value in our cooperation with the Lao PDR. A blue Patuxay symbolises our partnership, but more importantly, it will be a reminder of the commitment to sustainable development by the Government and Development Partners.”
H.E. Mr. Thongloun Sisoulith, Deputy Prime Minister of Lao PDR highlighted the milestones in the cooperation between the United Nations and Lao PDR in his televised addresses to the public on National TV on the occasion of UN Day: “The presence of the United Nations in our country has helped us bring about a range of achievements. In 2014, 98.5 percent of our children were enrolled in primary schools and our public expenditure on education has grown significantly. We have reached the target of halving the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day by 2013, and estimates show that the poverty rate has declined even further than the 23% of 2013.”
Such development gains are showcased in a roving photo exhibition titled “Working together for Lao PDR”, also launched on this occasion. The photographs on display illustrate how United Nations agencies support the Government in its various development efforts. The exhibition is open to the public at Vientiane Center in November, and will subsequently tour different locations in the capital and provinces.
The UN is calling for submissions to “#Namkan2030”, a youth mobile photo competition picturing the vision of a Lao future by 2030. The competition will culminate in the announcement of winning entries in two categories after UN Day. The photo competition also ties in to a social media campaign, organised by the UN to create awareness among the Lao public on the work of the United Nations in Lao PDR.
UN Day activities in Laos tie into a global event. On 24 October, more than 150 iconic monuments, buildings, museums, bridges and other landmarks in more than 45 countries around the world will be lit up blue.
“I am grateful our Member States are showing such strong enthusiasm in marking 70 years of UN support for peace, development and human rights,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “By turning the world UN Blue for a day, we can light the way to a better tomorrow.”
In Laos, celebrations will continue after UN Day, when the Government of Lao PDR hosts the 12th High Level Round Table Meeting, a forum to discuss the country’s strategic development policies. On this occasion, Patuxay will again be lit in blue as a sign of commitment to sustainable development and to inspire engagement among the general public to achieve the new global Sustainable Development Goals.
The Government of Lao PDR, together with 192 other member states, has endorsed the 17 new global Sustainable Development Goals at the UN General Assembly in September this year. These new global goals will promote peaceful and inclusive societies, create better employment, and tackle key environmental challenges. They should help shift the world onto a sustainable development path, with 2030 as the target date.
Ms. Ildiko Hamos-Sohlo Head of Public Information Unit, UNDP Lao PDR Ildiko.firstname.lastname@example.org Tel.: 021 267 778 Mobile: 020 7717 7913