The Government of Lao PDR and UNICEF Listen to Children and Youth’s Voices in Savannakhet

Vientiane, 6 May 2019

06 May 2019

This is part of a series of consultations organised in different parts of the country to mark the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Solutions proposed to overcome existing challenges for children by children will be summarised into the ‘Children and Youth Ideas and Actions for a Better Future’ report to be presented in November at a high-level meeting in Vientiane.

Savannakhet, 6 May 2019 – The National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children (NCAWMC) with the support of UNICEF launched today in Savannakhet a consultation  to listen to children’s voices, give them the space they need to articulate their concerns and propose solutions to existing challenges in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

52 children from different ages between 11 and 18 years old from Bolikhamsay, Savannakhet, Khammouan, Saravane, Champasak, Sekong and Attapeu, are participating in this 3-day consultation that will conclude with an exchange with the provincial authorities where children will present progress done in the area of child wellbeing over the last years, the key challenges they are facing and will propose solutions to improve their lives.

The outcomes of these consultations that will was also held in Bokeo (for the Northern provinces) and will be organised in Vientiane (Central provinces) in late May will be summarized into a report which will be presented at a high-level summit to be organised in November to mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“According to the 2015 Census, in Lao PDR, about 40 percent of the population is under 18 years of age. 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. Therefore, it is essential to recognise the role that children and young people can and must play as assets and problem solvers while discussing future development goals,” said Ms. Chongchith Chantharanonh, Deputy Permanent Secretary, National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children, Lao PDR.

Children are experts in their own lives and experiences. As stated in Article 12 of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child and young person under 18 years of age has the right to participate and have their opinions included in decision-making processes that relate to their lives. Through these consultations, the Lao PDR Government and UNICEF are working collaboratively with children and young people to listen to their views and valuable insight into how their rights can best be promoted, protected and fulfilled.

“I am happy to join this consultation and expect to learn many things about the Convention on the Rights of the Child while making new friends. I hope I can acquire skills that will help me further develop in the future,” stated Ms Minaly  Souliyachan, 15 years old.

“The children and youth consultations are for children and by children. The young participants will be encouraged and empowered to take ownership of the discussion and final report. These consultations will follow an inclusive, accessible and participatory approach. It is expected that the discussions over the next three days and in the following workshop in Vientiane will capture children young people’s realities, stories, concerns and ideas to build a better future for every child in Lao PDR,” explained Maria Fernandez, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Lao PDR.

20 November 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC30), one of the world’s most-ratified human rights treaty. Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on 8 May 1991. Throughout the year, the NCAWMC, MOFA, MPI and other line ministries along with private sector and civil society organisations and children themselves will organise, with support from UNICEF, a series of public engagement activities to build awareness, support and commitment to action on the implementation of CRC and SDGs.

FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Mr. Chanthanakhone Sayavong, Director of the Children Development Division, NCAWMCS, e-mail: saykone1@yahoo.com, telephone: 020-23851149.

Maria Fernandez Ruiz de Larrinaga, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Lao PDR
Tel : +856-21 315 200-4 (ext. 119)
Mobile : +856 (0) 20 555 19681
E-mail : mfernandez@unicef.org

Media Contacts

Mr. Chanthanakhone Sayavong

Director of the Children Development Division, NCAWMCS

The National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children (NCAWMC)

Tel: 020-23851149

Maria Fernandez

Chief of Advocacy, Communication and Partnership

UNICEF Lao PDR

Tel: +856 21 487500 ext. 7508

Tel: +856 20 55519681

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