Vientiane, 11 November 2019 – The Government of Lao PDR represented by the Prime Minister, H.E. Thongloun Sisoulith and the Deputy Prime Minister, H.E. Sonexay Siphandone, UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific, Karin Hulshof, vice-governors, representatives from the private sector, NGOs and civil society organizations, development partners and children gathered today in Vientiane at the Lao Generation 2030 Forum to mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
“Children will be tomorrow’s leaders and the drivers of the Lao PDR’s future prosperity. By upholding the rights of every child and investing in children today, we will ensure a bright future not only for that child, but for the country as a whole”, said the Prime Minister, H.E. Thoungloun Sisoulith in his opening remarks.
Participants pledged their support to develop Lao human capital by achieving SDG1 and the national target of reducing the percentage of children who are multidimensionally deprived by half by 2030, and to make investments in children, adolescents and young people a key priority in the 9th and 10th National Socio-Economic Development Plans (NSEDPs).
“Spending on a child’s health, nutrition, education, protection, and social, emotional and cognitive development is not only a sound economic investment but morally it is the right thing to do. Surviving and developing to their full potential is the fundamental right of every child,” stated H.E. Alounkeo Kittikhoun, Minister to the Prime Ministers’ Office and Vice President of the NCAWMC.
The joint statement signed by all stakeholders also refers to the need to focus on critical interventions and programmes along the life cycle and the importance of strengthening national systems to provide quality health and education services for women and children, and put special emphasis on strengthening the child protection system to support children and families.
Participants agreed to meet on annual basis in conjunction with the World Children’s Day celebration on 20 November to assess progress in the implementation of this commitment.
“Higher economic growth rates in Lao PDR will only be realized if productivity is increased significantly. This will require prioritized and sustained investments to unleash the unlimited potential of the generation of Lao children and young people who will grow between now and 2030, when SDGs are to be achieved,” said Ms. Karin Hulshof, Regional Director UNICEF East Asia and Pacific.
To mark the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC30), the world’s most widely ratified human rights treaty, the National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children (NCAWMC), with the support of UNICEF Lao PDR, organized over the last months a series of consultations with children and youth, private sector, vice-governors, NGOs and civil society organisations, and development partners. The commitments and statements that came out of these consultations were presented at the Forum.
Representing the children who participated in the children and youth consultations, Panyphorn Vongmala, aged 15, highlighted the progress done in the area of child wellbeing over the last few years, the key challenges they are facing, and presented children’s consulted solutions to improve their lives. “We have concerns over unsatisfactory education quality, deforestation, and violence in family and schools, and hope to see a country with quality education, an encouraging community, greener environment and higher awareness of health and nutrition. We want to play an active role in addressing current challenges, but we also would like to take this opportunity to ask policy makers and partners to increase efforts to improve our lives.”
Mrs. Bounphak Inthapannya, Vice Governor of Sayaboury pronvince presented the commitment on behalf of the vice governors from the 18 provinces in Lao PDR which includes meeting the national target on child poverty and ensure that each province will reduce by at least one third the percentage of children who are multidimensionally deprived by 2030, as well as the need to generate evidence, share knowledge and enhance capacity and working mechanisms for better planning, implementation and monitoring of initiatives to address multi-dimensional poverty among children, among other key issues.
The Vice President of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Vanthong Sitthikoun, pledged support to the government’s efforts in providing quality education for all children; provide decent work opportunities for children above the minimum legal age for work, including vocational and specialized training; develop family-friendly policies and practices at the workplace to promote gender equality and protect the wellbeing of workers’ children; and align these priority actions with the Lao Labour Law.
Development partners also shared their support to the cause of children and confirmed their assistance to the Government for the development of Lao human capital, generate quality services and robust monitoring systems for programme implementation.
Finally, the NGOs and civil society organisations, committed to increase efforts to reduce disparities in the level of protection afforded to children with a focus on disadvantaged regions and groups, ensuring all children fulfill their right to health, safe and clean environment, education, protection and participation; and paying special attention to issues like early childhood development, reducing maternal and neonatal mortality, and stunting, ending child marriage and all forms of violence against children, among other key areas.
At the Forum, Siwon Choi, star of Korean boyband Super Junior, was appointed as the new UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Ambassador.
Following the Lao Generation 2030 Forum, a Government-led delegation will present on 20 November in New York its vision and commitments at the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of CRC. At the meeting, the Lao youth advocate Vongmala Panyphorm will speak on behalf of Lao children, raising their voices at global level for better education, a key issue for children’s development.
Lao PDR aligned to the Global CRC@30 pledge in late October 2019 highlighting the focus of the Government on reducing poverty in all its dimensions, especially among children, and strengthening child protection systems.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Lao PDR, visit http://www.unicef.org/laos
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Chongchith Chantharanonh, Deputy Permanent Secretary, National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children, Lao PDR.
Mobile: +856 (0) 20 555 08520
Ms. Maria Fernandez Ruiz de Larrinaga, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Lao PDR
Tel: +856 21 487500 ext. 7508
Mobile: +856 (0) 20 555 19681
Tel: +856 20 555 08520
Tel: +856 21 487500 ext. 7508
Tel: +856 20 55519681
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.