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The annual Adolescent Research Day (ARD) was established in 2016 in Lao PDR under the Noi 2030 Framework as a joint initiative by the Lao Tropical Public Health Institute (LTPHI - former National Institute of Public Health), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV). The ARD is held prior to the annual National Health Research Forum, as a one-day conference with a specific theme related to adolescents. It provides a platform for researchers, policy-makers and development partners in the Greater Mekong Subregion to unite and share existing research and collaborate on generating new evidence. The first adolescent research day in 2016 focused on SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being). The second ARD was organized in 2017 focusing on SDG 2 (End Hunger) with the theme ‘Nutrition and Reproductive Health from a Life-Cycle Perspective’. The third“Social protection for Among Adolescents-Issues, Challenges and Way Forward”. The 4th “Gender Equality Research Evidence in the context of the 9th Socio-Economic Development plan. The 5th “Adolescent and Development Adolescent - Removing their barriers towards a healthy and fulfilling life”. And this year the 6th Adolescent Research Day was organized on 15 October 2021 at the Clown Plaza Hotel, Vientiane, Lao PDR under the theme Protection of Adolescent Health and Development in the Context of COVID-19.

The objectives of the Adolescent Research Day were to promote adolescent research to fill the data gap, build capacity of young researchers as well as build knowledge and research evidence on adolescents aged 10-19 years for promoting evidence-based policies and comprehensive interventions that are vital to achieve the well-being of all adolescents in the region. This year’s adolescent research day focussed on adolescent health and development in the context of COVID-19, including Sexual reproductive health, Mental Health and Well-being, Gender Equality, Protection and Education.

167 participants from Lao PDR, Thailand, Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, India, Philippine, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Maldive, France, United States, United Kingdom and Canada participated in the ARD by Zoom and 35 participants joined physically. The researchers and presenters from Lao PDR, Japan, Cambodia and India presented their research evidence and experiences, which covered the current status of adolescents’ issues such as sexual reproductive health, mental health and well-being, gender equality, and education, vocational skills, aspiration in Lao PDR and the Region. They also highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on adolescents along with adapting the strategies and ways to cope with those circumstances, which includes discussing further research. This report provides a brief summary of the ARD sessions.