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23 March 2015, Vientiane – The first ever Adolescent and Youth Situation Analysis Report (AYSA) of Lao youth has been conducted to better understand the range of determinants that affect young people’s lives, both positively and negatively with the aim to identify priority areas for action that would improve the lives of young people and contribute to the social and economic development of the country, now and in the future. The report was officially launched by the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoEs), and co-chaired by the Lao Youth Union (LYU), with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), at the Landmark Riverside Hotel.

Lao PDR has one of the youngest populations in Southeast Asia. Nearly 60% of its over 6 million inhabitants are estimated to be less than 25 years of age. Such a young population represents a unique opportunity from which the country should benefit. Investing in young people, particularly in the areas of health, education, employment, protection and participation will ensure that every young person’s potential is fulfilled and clearly addressing the needs of young people means addressing the needs of Lao PDR as a country. Therefore, the AYSA report focuses on these five key areas of young people’s lives.

One of the findings regarding the health situation of youth indicates that Lao PDR has one of the highest adolescent pregnancy rates among the countries in the region, with 94 in 1000 adolescents girls, aged 15 -19  being pregnant. Even though many young people have knowledge about any modern contraceptive method, the percentage of usage of any of these methods remains considerably low. For many reasons, includinglimited access to adolescent and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health information and services, young people do not adopt safe sexual behaviour which often results in unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions, as well as high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which increases the risk of HIV infection.

Early marriage and early child bearing severely affects the lives and future of adolescents, especially the one of young girls, which hampers their education, employment opportunities and participation in the community. It is crucial to ensure that young people, particularly young girls from rural settings stay in school and have access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, including comprehensive sexuality education and family planning.

“I urge the relevant sectors to find it useful as a guideline on drafting future policy on youth development. To ensure that youth issue is fully integrated into the 8th NSEDP and the 5-year sectoral plan” Said H.E Lytou Boupao, Vice Minister of Education.

For more information please contact:

Vanly Lorkuangming – Communication Associate, UNFPA Lao PDR

Tel: +856 21 315547, 353048, 353049