VIENTIANE, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Lao government has welcomed the arrival of the newly appointed United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) representative, in anticipation of closer cooperation in the implementation of the national socio-economic development plan, local media reported Saturday.
The planned budget for UNICEF's country program in Laos is about 63 million U.S. dollars, to support health and nutrition, education, child protection and social inclusion programs, etc., local daily Vientiane Times quoted a press release from the UNICEF Laos office as saying.
The newly appointed UNICEF Representative Octavian Bivol met with Lao Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith on Wednesday.
The minister congratulated Bivol on his appointment as the new UNICEF representative to Laos. He voiced his appreciation for UNICEF's assistance to Laos in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and expressed interest in continuing the close collaboration between the Lao government and UNICEF on efforts towards achieving the goals of the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan, graduation from Least Developed Country status, and implementation of the SDGs.
Bivol thanked the foreign minister and the Lao government for their warm welcome and appreciation of UNICEF's work. Bivol assured Saleumxay that he would work hand in hand with the Lao government to strengthen cooperation and improve the lives of children in the country.
Bivol was confident that through the strong partnership with the Lao government and close collaboration with other partners, the objectives of the new program of cooperation for 2017-2021 will be achieved, contributing to the priorities of the national development agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.