Children and young people in Laos share their vision for 2030
130 children and youth from all 18 provinces of Lao PDR shared their vision for the country
Laos is a country in transition. Not only it transitions in poverty reduction and achievement of agenda 2030 but also in creating space for the voice of youth to be part of the narrative on social and economic development. About 130 children and youth from all 18 provinces of Lao PDR shared their vision for the country they want through a series of consultations organized by the National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children and UNICEF.
Laughter, tons of energy and good vibes, and ideas, many ideas. This is what was seen, felt and heard across all three children and youth consultations that kicked off the activities to mark the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in Lao PDR. The country listened to dreams and concerns of the next generation of Lao citizens. This was a unique series of consultations, in a country where spaces for children and youth to raise their voices are limited because it gave an opportunity for young representatives from each province to come together and talk about key issues impacting their lives, share their hopes and dreams for the future of Laos, and learn important skills to express themselves while having fun and making new friends.
Talking about solutions to existing challenges, children put emphasis on the need to promote parenting education and proposed policy makers to increase efforts to address violence against children, including the implementation of campaigns to put an end to bullying in schools.
"I want every child to have access to quality education and be encouraged to learn. In 2030, I would like Lao PDR to learn from other countries where children get free uniforms, school materials and access to technology in everyday learning,” said Vanatda Panyavatthanasinh, 15 years old, who participated at the consultation organized in Vientiane.
Environment-related issues were also discussed during the consultations. By 2030, children want to see a greener country with more trees, public parks and an important reduction in plastic use. In their 2030 vision, children and youth in different consultations also referred to the importance of health and nutrition. “I would like to see more and better qualified health workers and better equipment and technology in health centres,” explained Salernmxay Sivongsa, 15 years old, while adding that ensuring access to quality health services for rural children is also very important as they need equal opportunities to grow healthy.
For Pia Britto, UNICEF Representative a.i. these consultations are very timely, both nationally and globally as we understand the potential of a generation unlimited. “2019 marks the inception of the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan which is an opportunity to set a new agenda for the country building on Human Capital to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets by 2030 and the implementation for the concluding observations on CRC. By listening to children voices, we can understand better existing challenges. With them we can come with innovative solutions to address them. Let’s not forget that they are beneficiaries and targets of current policies, but they are also change makers. Shaped by decisions made today, these children and young people will go on and shape the country’s future in the years to come.”
The consultations culminated in a celebration of Children’s day where the youth presented their vision for 2030, and solutions to existing challenges they are facing to the Deputy Prime Minister and policy makers, local authorities and high-level officials.
The CRC@30 momentum continues under the leadership of the NCAWMC and other line ministries concluding with a high-level forum in November. While children and youth are 40% of the population they are 100% of the future. UNICEF’s focus is to unleash the unlimited potential of children and young people who will be born and grow between now and 2030 - the Lao Generation 2030.
To read the press release, click here.
To watch the video of the consultations, click here.
To read the report, click here.