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27 October 2022, Vientiane, Lao PDR – H.E. Professor Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairperson of NCAWMC, led a meeting of the National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children (NCAWMC) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with Vice Governors, National Assembly members, and Line Ministries on the commitments to advance the rights of adolescent girls in their provinces.

In Lao PDR, more than half of the population is under 25 years old, meaning the country has a one-time opportunity for a demographic dividend. Therefore, it is essential to plan for social and economic growth through urgent, targeted investments in the human capital, particularly in adolescent girls and young people. About 82, 000 youth enter the job market annually in Laos, half of them young women.

In his remarks, H.E. Professor Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairperson of NCAWMC, said “over the past two years, the NCAWMC at all levels, as well as all partners, have proactively implemented commitments to promote adolescent girls’ rights and empowering young women through the Noi ecosystem, the National Action Plan for Prevention and Elimination of violence against women and children 2021- 2025.”

“I would like to assign Deputy Governors, the Provincial Assembly, and the leaders from the Vientiane capital and the provinces to study and consider the budget allocation in the national and provincial action plans and the international convention on the rights of the child and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women to implement the Noi 2030 framework successfully.”

In 2016, the Noi framework was introduced to track the trends in adolescent-related indicators and created a Noi ecosystem of programmes and interventions for empowering adolescent girls and young people through joint programming and strategic partnerships. 

With Lao PDR's commitment to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25), the high-level consultation workshop took place in 2020 to integrate the Noi 2030 framework and ICPD interventions into provincial and government action plans wherein the vice governors of provinces committed to integrate the Noi ecosystem interventions and ICPD25 commitments into their provincial plans and implement them. 

Madame Inlavanh Keobounphan, Vice Chairperson of NCAWMC and President of Lao Women’s Union, said, “I urge all delegates to take part in reviewing how the indicators and the Noi framework are used to empower young women and girls.  Furthermore, we must make plans to address challenges as well as identify key priorities to be incorporated into the provincial socio-economic development plan and the sector development plans for the years 2023–2025”.

In this second high-level meeting, Ms Mariam A. Khan, UNFPA Representative, emphasised that “roles of the provincial vice governors are crucial to realise the demographic dividend and ensure the rights of every girl are protected and promoted. It is vital to strengthen the implementation of existing policies and laws that protect women and girls, to use data for informed decision making. ”

The provincial vice governors reaffirmed their commitments to advance the rights of adolescent girls through the provincial plans and the meeting reiterated the provincial efforts in prioritising vulnerable groups, promoting gender equality and reducing gender-based violence; to innvest in sexual and reproductive health rights, improving contraceptive prevalance and ending maternal mortality; to roll out comprehensive sexuality education, education on rights and choices. THey committed to using data and evidence in decision making.