Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
Making the agriculture sector – especially the rice sector – more productive is key to both poverty reduction and livelihood improvement in Lao PDR. The Agricultural Census (2012) estimated a “farm population” of 4.5 million: those who live in “farm households”, the definition being a household engaged in agricultural production activities such as growing crops, raising livestock, or engaged in aquaculture. These account for approximately 70 percent of employed persons, while around 76 percent of all households in the country grow rice. Commercial agriculture (e.g. cassava and maize) is expanding rapidly, and crops tend to be grown by small farmers under contract. Plantations, such as bananas and rubber, are normally concessions managed by companies, which rely on cheap manual labour often resourced from migrants, generally with low wages.
A high level of vulnerable employment is driven by the agriculture and fishery sector, sales workers, and elementary occupations. Within these three sectors, respectively 99, 73 and 73 per cent of workers are in vulnerable employment (self-employed, but not employer, or in unpaid work for the family).
Lao PDR has put in place the classification for quality investment in specific sectors such as agriculture, forestry, and hotel and tourism. The Government is working with development partners and private sector to take into account various concerns on the social and environment impacts of investment projects, especially for concessional investments.
Achieving economic growth and sustainable development requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources. Agriculture is the biggest user of water worldwide, and irrigation now claims close to 70 percent of all freshwater for human use.
The efficient management of our shared natural resources, and the way we dispose of toxic waste and pollutants, are important targets to achieve this goal. Encouraging industries, businesses and consumers to recycle and reduce waste is equally important, as is supporting developing countries to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption by 2030.
A large share of the world population is still consuming far too little to meet even their basic needs. Halving the per capita of global food waste at the retailer and consumer levels is also important for creating more efficient production and supply chains. This can help with food security, and shift us towards a more resource efficient economy.