International Youth Day 2016

12 August 2016
National Youth Forum 2016: Youth Leading Sustainability. Young people play a key role to achieve the sustainable development.

12 August 2016, Vientiane Capital – Youth and policy makers meet today for the National Youth Forum to mark the International Youth Day 2016 and to provide inputs to the upcoming youth meeting leading to the ASEAN Submit.

The National Youth Forum is organized under the theme of the 2016 International Youth Day: “Youth Leading Sustainability” and will be attended by over 200 young people. It aims to highlight the importance of youth efforts, collaboration and participation the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, in particular the role of young people in ensuring poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development of Lao PDR. Key themes for the forum will include health, education, participation and leadership, employment and migration, and gender equality and the empowerment of adolescent and young girls.

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the world leaders in September last year. It marked the starting point that over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, Lao PDR will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty and fight inequalities, while ensuring that no one is left behind in particular adolescents and young people. It, therefore, is essential to ensure that young people are educated and health to become productive labour force.

With more than half of the Lao population under the age of 25, youth development is the key priority of the Government and youth is a major force for change.

Yet, young people are facing challenges. Lao PDR has the highest early pregnancy rates in the ASEAN region, 94 births per 1,000 adolescent girls aged 15-19. Despite progress made remarkably in the area of education for its population through various progressive policies, plans and programmes; school-dropout rate is still high in particular among girls in rural areas, poor families, and ethnic groups.

“Young people historically have played significant role in the development of Lao PDR. In order to maximize the contribution of young people to AEC integration and sustainable economic growth of the country, the Government is committed to empower youth through quality education and health care including sexual and reproductive health as well as job creation. Reaching the marginalized and vulnerable youth will be our priority in the upcoming new national youth policy that will be developed starting 2017,” said H.E. Mr. Southanou Thammavong (PhD), Secretary General of Lao Youth Union.

 “As the majority of Lao people are young, we should also make sure that young people are participated in policy making process, and that their voices are heard and taken into account.” He added.

Ms. Dalaphone Bounsavanh, a youth representative said at the forum that young people can contribute significantly to a better future for the country. She said: “Turning the Government’s commitment into reality will require so much to be done. We, young people, will continue to be vigilant and work hard to help the country achieve sustainable and inclusive development. We will fight against discrimination based on sex and gender and ensure that public health and education services are fully provided to all.” She continued: “I hope that policy makers will continue to increase the opportunity for us to utilize our knowledge and skills to maximize our potentials through the contribution to decision-making process.”

Ms. Frederika Meijer, UNFPA Representative said that: “It is our role as the Government and Development Partners to work together to enact policies that promote young people’s development and rights, and to measure progress across the SDGs that related to adolescent and youth. Young people must be engaged as partners in achieving these goals, as they are the generation that will inherit our country and our world.”

A side event including exhibition to showcase youth-related works, dance performance and fun activities with useful information is also organized.


For more information please contact:

Mr. Somkiao Kingsada, Deputy Cheif of Cabinet Office, Lao Youth Union.

Tel: 020 77880044



Ms. Duangchan Vongnasythan, Programme Assistant, UNFPA Lao PDR

Tel: 021 315547