Press Release

Lao PDR discuss ways to adapt UN's Essential Service Package

8 July 2019

July 8th 2019, Vientiane Capital - Lao Women’s Union hosts the first ever multi-stakeholder consultation on the Essential Service Package , from 8th-9th July 2019 at Lao Plaza Hotel.

Bringing together experts, government officials and development partners to discuss on how to adapt and use the Essential Service Package as a tool to provide essential services for women and girls who are victims of violence. It also aims to strengthen the coordination and referral pathways amongst service providers to better prevent and respond to gender-based violence.

There has been a significant progress in Lao PDR on national policies and laws development to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls. Marital rape and sexual violence by partner and individuals are criminalized by law. Any direct and indirect forms of violence are also prohibited by law. Gender equality and women’s empowerment is included in the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) and the Noi framework exists to empower and protect the rights of girls.

Despites the good laws and policies, research shows 58% of women and 49% of men reported that gender-based violence was justified if women did not stick to traditional gender norms, roles, and relations1. Another Study reveals one-third of women reported having experienced physical, emotional and/or sexual violence violence2. Nearly half of those women reported never seek help due to discriminatory gender stereotypes coupled with ineffective referral pathways. 

“Lao PDR has many good laws and policies to protect and uphold the rights of women and girls so they can live lives free from violence. Making services available as per the laws and policies  is the priority now. This responds to the CEDAW recommendations for Lao”.  Said Ms. Mariam A. Khan, UNFPA Representative to Lao PDR at Multi-stakeholder consultation workshop on Essential Service Package roll out.

In 2018, Lao Women’s Union (LWU) launched Women Friendly Spaces in two camps in Sanamxay, Attapeu supported by UNFPA. UNFPA also supported to strengthen the referral pathways among multi-sector in the camps to prevent and respond to GBV in the emergency setting. Gaining momentum through this great collaboration, both partners aim to implement the Essential Service Package (ESP) in Lao PDR from 2020-2023.

The Essential Service Package is The United Nations Joint Global Programme, a guidance tool identifying the essential services to be provided to all women and girls subject to gender-based violence, including services to be provided by the health, social, police and justice sectors.

“It is important to anticipate and prevent violence within communities, and this is especially important during disasters, when existing issues are amplified. Strong coordination among partners is necessary in order to prioritise GBV prevention and response.” Said by Ms. Thoummaly Vongphachanh, Vice President of the Lao Women’s Union.

Participants discussed on how to adapt ESP in the Lao context to better prevent and respond to gender-based violence, and how to integrate into each sector’s plan that can be built on the existing pilots and other interventions on GVB by the government and partners.


1 & 2: Study on Violence against Women in Lao PDR


UNFPA is the United Nations reproductive health and rights agency. It is the leading agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. UNFPA promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights, particularly maternal health, in over 150 countries, as well as working to end harmful practices such as child marriage, and supporting population data collection and analysis.


For more information, please contact:

Ms. Kay amphone Singhalath

Telephone: 021 267 680 Mob: 020 77776597

Email: Singhalath@unfpa.or