The UN Country Team is led by the UN Resident Coordinator, the designated representative of the UN Secretary General in the Lao PDR. The Resident Coordinator provides leadership of the UN’s overall engagement and cooperation with the Lao PDR, and strategic guidance and coordination for the operational activities of the UN and its agencies, funds and programmes at the country level, ensuring that the UN is able to provide efficient and effective development support.
The Resident Coordinator’s Office acts as the secretariat to the UN Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team, providing organizational, advisory and management support, and facilitating the UN’s joint strategic planning. The Resident Coordinator’s Office draws on the expertise and experience of the entire UN family, promoting information exchange, cooperation and collaboration among UN agencies, and supporting joint initiatives, for instance on the localization of the Sustainable Development Goals. It also supports and coordinates the assistance of non-resident UN agencies, funds and programmes in pursuit of national development priorities and strategies. In emergency contexts, the Resident Coordinator, supported by the Resident Coordinator’s Office, coordinates the assistance of the international community.
The Lao PDR – UN Partnership Framework (UNPF) is an articulation of the shared commitment of UN Country Team to work together as one, guided by its normative role, and the commitment to leaving no one behind, to maximize its resources and contributions in the best interests of the people of Lao PDR. The success of the UNPF will be measured by Lao PDR’s progress towards the graduation from Least Developed Country status and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals with equity. The foundation for the realization of the UNPF is supported by three pillars: (1) Inclusive Growth, Livelihoods and Resilience; (2) Human Development; and (3) Governance, Rule of Law and Participation in National Decision Making.
Leading the UN in Lao PDR: Ms. Sara Sekkenes, UN Resident Coordinator
“For the United Nations, 2019 marks the beginning of a new era as the Resident Coordinator System delinks from UNDP. However, it is not new for the UN in Lao PDR to deliver results in a coordinated way, as one. With the Lao PDR – United Nations Partnership Framework (2017-2021) guiding our work, we will continue our support to the Government to reach its aspirations of by 2030 becoming an upper middle-income country, where all people benefit equally from quality services, including those most vulnerable.” – Ms. Sara Sekkenes
Ms. Sara Sekkenes began her career in the United Nations in 2006. Her most recent appointment before her arrival to Lao PDR was as UNDP Conflict Prevention Partnership Adviser, engaging in prevention of violence, control of arms and mine action work. Prior to the UNDP assignment, Sara worked with the non-governmental organization Norwegian People’s Aid, based in Mozambique, Angola and Serbia, on global landmine and cluster munitions campaigns.
A national of Norway, Sara holds a Master from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden in the field of Human and Physical Geography and additional university degrees in Development Studies and Political Geography. She speaks English, French and Norwegian.