Press Release

Lao PDR Government and UNFPA review the progress of 2020 and set 2021 priorities for women, girls and young people

29 January 2021
Lao PDR Government and UNFPA review the progress of 2020 and set 2021 priorities for women, girls and young people

 

Vientiane Capital, 29 December 2020. Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) convened the Annual Meeting to review the progresses made in implementing the current joint country programme in Lao PDR, and set the priorities to address remaining challenges in line with the commitments made at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 and the 9th National Social and Economic Development Plan (NSEDP).

 

Implementing partners and relevant national counterparts attended the meeting, including the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Lao Statistics Bureau, Lao Women Union, Lao Youth Union and Lao Tropical and Public Health Institute, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfares and National University of Laos. They presented key achievements and challenges in implementing the program activities, particularly in the difficult COVID context that hit the world this year. 2021 will be a transition year as it is the last year of the 6th and current Country Program (CP6-2017/2021) of UNFPA in LaoPDR and is a preparation year for the next 7th CP (2022-2026). The Lao government will continue to accelerate the unfinished businesses on the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25; emphasizing on the national commitments that guide the joint efforts to respond to the wellbeing of Lao people in line with the 9th NSEDP.

 

The activities in 2020 focused on the three transformative results aiming by 2030 to; end maternal mortality, end unmet need for family planning, including among adolescent girls and end gender-based violence and harmful practices such as early marriage; ensure youth receive age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education through school curriculums nationwide and innovative adolescent youth friendly services; implement policies and Gender equality Law; establish a referral pathway and make dignity kits available in humanitarian emergencies, increase investments for adolescents, especially young women through the “Noi framework” and “Noi ecosystem”.

Working closely together, UNFPA and Lao government have made breakthroughs on both policy and programme, including the preparedness for COVID response on the health and psychosocial levels, the expansion of the national family planning programme with increased financial resources from the government in addition to UNFPA’s support in building the capacities of health, revision of national reproductive and maternal health strategy, the integration of comprehensive sexuality education in secondary and vocational training education systems. The National Population and Development Policy (2019 – 2030) and the National Adolescents and Youth Strategy have been endorsed by the Prime Minister and the use of data has increased to inform policies and plans.

 

Madam Sisomboun Ounavong, Director General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Planning and Investment acknowledged the important support provided by UNFPA in the preparation of the Lao 2030 study, that provided evidence for the integration into the 9th NSEDP of population dynamics, as well as for the identification of opportunities for reaping the demographic dividend, and human capital investments. Madam Sisoumboun stated that This year was special due to the preparation of the next five-year development plan, the 9th NSEDP, and in this regard, it is important to highlight the population-centered priority for the upcoming years. Population issues are important for the Government of Lao PDR, and the need to focus on the demographic transition, population dynamics and projections, and their implications for the achievement of development targets, including education, health, employment, gender equality, poverty reduction are vital”.

 

Mariam Khan, UNFPA Representative to Lao PDR expressed sincere appreciation to MPI and other counterparts for the trusted long-term partnership and continued support to advance the ICPD mandate in Lao PDR. “Our combined efforts to accelerate the unfinished business of ICPD in Laos have delivered partnerships for protecting rights of women and young people. This was especially important to prevent COVID-19 pandemic from rolling back the progress achieved. Two highlights include the provincial Vice Governors including Noi related investments in their budgets and plans as well as the participation of youth through the My Body My Planet My Future campaign.  UNFPA will continue to support in 2021 opportunities for women, girls and youth to fulfil their rights, choices and dignity”.

In the current country program, UNFPA and the government involved a large group of international and private sector partners with 2.2 million  US Dollars additional resources raised in 2020. Partners include : Sinouk Coffee, (BFL), Crowne Plaza, (CRI Lao), (KOICA),  Good Neighbours, Care International, Plan International,ChildFund Laos, KOFIH, Burapha Agroforestry, UK, Australia, Luxembourg aid and development who helped fund, scale up, extend, innovate and support the priority intervention focusing on the wellbeing of the population  especially the most vulnerable groups.

 

The line ministries and counterparts reached the consensus on the priority areas for next year. The 2030 Noi Framework will continue to build platforms for collaborative efforts to advocate for greater investments on adolescent girls. Gender equality will be mainstreamed to tackle root causes for gender-based violence, early marriage, and unwanted pregnancy. UNFPA and partners will continue to engage young people to take actions on sexual reproductive health, gender, climate change and other broad development issues.

 

 

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UNFPA, the UN's sexual and reproductive health agency, works in over 150 countries including Lao PDR, to achieve zero maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning and zero gender-based

 

For more information please contact:

Mr. Phonexay SITHIRAJVONGSA, 

Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, UNFPA Lao PDR

Email: sithirajvongsa@unfpa.org