Lao PDR Launches First Ever National Plan of Action to Strengthen Child Protection Systems

The five-year plan, developed in collaboration with UNICEF, the Republic of Korea and Australia, will help guide the Lao Government in strengthening its ability to deliver protection services to vulnerable children.

30 January 2023
A woman speaking
UNICEF Laos/2022/MPhetxayyabouth

Vientiane, 27 January 2023 – The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, with support from UNICEF, today launched the first ever National Plan of Action for Child Protection System Strengthening in Lao PDR, which will act as a reference for government agencies and international organisations in planning, implementing and mobilising resources to protect children from violence, abuse and exploitations.   

The launch was chaired by H.E. Mme. Baykham Khattiya, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare. More than 60 individuals attended the event, including representatives from development partners such as Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR, H.E. Mr. Jung Yung-Soo, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Lao PDR, and Mr. Dan Heldon, Deputy Head of Mission of the Australian Embassy to Lao PDR.

“The five-year plan, which will be implemented from 2022 to 2026, demonstrates the commitment and responsibility of the Government of Lao PDR in protecting and realising the rights of every child, for their survival and the development of the country. ” remarked H.E. Mme. Baykham Khattiya. The minister further acknowledged the support from UNICEF, the Republic of Korea and the Australian Government, which was crucial in development of this plan to strengthening child protection systems in Lao PDR.

The child protection system comprises the set of laws, policies, human resources and services needed across all social sectors to support the prevention and response to protection-related risks. The system also comprises of the relationship between these components and the different actors such as children, families and communities. Priorities for implementing this National Plan of Action include strengthening the legal framework and policies related to children, developing social service workforces and the capacity of service providers, empowering caregivers and children, and creating opportunities for children to participate in decision-making on matters affecting them directly.

“The launching of this National Plan of Action is based on our common understanding that children are the very future of the country,” stated H.E. Mr. Jung Yung-Soo. “It is inspiring to see Korea, through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), UNICEF and like-minded countries like Australia join hands to help Lao PDR develop and implement this plan to help protect children,” added the ambassador.

“Australia is proud to work with UNICEF to support the Lao Government in strengthening community-based child protection services for vulnerable children, in past years and going forward, and the piloting of the child protection strengthening system model through an incentive-based systems approach,” said H.E. Mr. Dan Heldon.

In the past few years, tremendous efforts have been made to develop and strengthen the child protection system in Lao PDR. Previously in January 2022, MoLSW issued the “Agreement on the Organizational Structure and the Mandates of the National Child Protection and Assistance Committee”, which outlines the committee’s roles, responsibilities, and working procedures at different levels, to serve as a basis for the effective implementation of child protection assistance throughout the country.  Supported by UNICEF, with funding from the Australian Government and KOICA, the MoLSW has been piloting the system approach model in Attapeu and Xiengkhouang provinces, yielding encouraging results that are scalable for other parts of the country.

“I congratulate MoLSW for their leadership in developing this first ever National Plan of Action for Child Protection System Strengthening through a participatory process engaging all stakeholders including children of various background,” said Dr. Pia Rebello Britto. “The NPA ensures the key child protection concerns will be addressed through a durable system approach.  It represents another significant milestone of achievements made by the Government of Lao PDR in progressing towards SDG goals regarding child rights and in implementing the CRC Concluding Observations. Dr. Britto added.

Lao PDR is the first country in the region to have undertaken the comprehensive process of mapping, visioning, planning and modeling for Child Protection System strengthening and Social Service Workforce development. This includes the assessment of the Child Protection System in Lao PDR in 2019, the development of a vision paper with core recommendations for child protection system strengthening in 2020, the National Plan of Action for Child Protection System Strengthening 2022-2026, and the National Strategy for the Social Service Workforce development in Lao PDR.

Group photo
UNICEF Laos/2022/MPhetxayyabouth

Media contacts

Mr. Vongkham Phanthanouvong
Director General
Social Welfare Department, Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare
Tel: 856 2054411929
Tabongphet Phouthavong
Communication Specialist
Tel: +85621 487520;ext=7520
Tel: +856 20 96888890


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