News

World Population Day 2015 - Media Conference

10 July 2015

Vientiane, 10 July 2015 - World Population Day is celebrated every 11th of July in over 90 countries in the world. The day seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, particularly in the context of overall development.

The theme for this year is "Vulnerable Population in Emergencies". Women, children and young people comprise over three quarters of the over 50 million people who have forcibly displaced from their homes by conflict and disasters in most parts of the world. Girls and women in crisis situations face much greater risk of abuse, sexual exploitation, violence, forced marriage, reproductive health-related illness, and death due to the lack of protection and an absence of aid delivery to address their needs.

In Lao PDR, despite having experience of a number of natural disasters, is not a natural prone country and has enjoyed peace and security in the past decades. Yet, vulnerable population - especially out-of-school youths in particular girls have limited access to sexual and reproductive health and information as well as other social services even in normal circumstances.

According to the recent Adolescent and Youth Situation Analysis report 2014, at least 30% of adolescent of secondary school age are not attending school at all.

The Lao Social Indicator Survey indicates that Lao PDR has one of the highest adolescent pregnancy rates in the region - about 4 out of 10 girls are either mothers or are pregnant at the age of 19.

Out-of-School girls are most vulnerable, as they have limited to no-access to education due to various factors that hamper them. The lack of access to sexual and reproductive education, information and services bring them into risk of early marriage and pregnancy.

Dr Kikeo Chanthabouly, Vice Minister of Planning and Investment said at the media conference that: "I would like to urge all relevant sectors at all levels to identify issues, gaps, strategies, channels to ensure that 'Dignity, safety, and reproductive health for all women and girls at all times', to reach out to vulnerable girls in remote and marginalized areas, as well as ethnicity with sexual and reproductive health information and service both in urban and rural areas"

Dr. Hassan Mohtashami, Representative of UNFPA said: "If a girl doesn't go to school or drops out of school, she will face significant challenges to achieving her full potential". He continued: "Empowering women and girls to make free and informed choices about their sexual reproductive health and stay longer in school can enabling them to fully participate in the society and  productively contribute to the country development".

The Media conference was held in Donchan Palace Hotel by the Ministry of Planning and Investment in collaboration with UNFPA. The conference aimed to mark the meaningful day as well as to raise awareness of the importance of reaching vulnerable young people particularly out-of-school girls with sexual and reproductive health information and services.

The World Population Day is celebrated every year in Lao PDR by conducting a series of activities involving high-ranking people as well as government, development partners, and young people. After the media conference, there will be an Essay Competition for young people aged between 15 - 24 years living in Savannakhet and Luangnamtha province. The Initiative is to involving young people and hearing their voices on the issue of sexual reproductive health information and services for all young people. For more information, details and criteria of application can be visited and downloaded from http://lao.unfpa.org.

 

For more information please contact:

Vanly Lorkuangming - Communications Associate, UNFPA Lao PDR

Tel: + 856 21 315547, 353048 - 9

Mobile: + 856 20 99903355

E-mail: lorkuangming@unfpa.org

Website: http://lao.unfpa.org