Reimagining the Laos We Want for Children, Adolescents and Youth on World Children’s Day
Selected buildings will go blue to mark this important date while youth advocates will raise their voices and reimagine post-pandemic country for children
Vientiane, 20 November 2019 – As the world comes together as one on 20 November to celebrate World Children’s Day, the Government of Lao PDR, UNICEF, partners and children are joining hands to highlight progress made in addressing the most urgent issues impacting children; raise awareness about the plight of many children who are denied basic rights and amplify the voices of children to ensure they have a say in the type of future they want.
“We will work together to strengthen the position of children in this country to ensure that they receive proper care, nurture, protection and are engaged so that they all can have a bright childhood and are able to develop into productive members of society contributing to the nation’s development,” said H.E. Ms Khanthaly Siriphongphanh, Vice-Minister of Education and Sports.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted children all around the world. In Lao PDR, during the lockdown, far too many children were deprived of education, health and immunization services were affected, and the livelihood of many families has been jeopardized due to the economic impact of the pandemic.
“This World Children’s Day gives us a unique opportunity to reimagine collectively the Laos we want for children, adolescents and youth, the Lao Generation 2030. Together with our partners we are strengthening the health system to provide quality live-saving care to every child, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable,” highlighted H.E. Associated Professor, Dr. Phouthone Muongpak, Vice-Minister of Health.
Throughout the day, children and youth will make their voices heard on different platforms. They will take over radio stations, including the Lao Youth Union Radio FM90 as well as UNICEF’s physical and digital offices to reimagine education, where investment on digital learning is needed; reimagine health so that all children have access to health services; reimagine environment and give greater focus to climate change; and reimagine protection for all children to be safe both online and offline.
“As we move into the post-pandemic world, there will be competing priorities in terms of development. We cannot forget that this is a child rights crisis, therefore children’s agenda has to be at the forefront of the country’s priorities,” stated Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to Lao PDR while adding that in moving this agenda forward, stakeholders have to listen to children’s voices: “We must listen to children and young people, and work alongside them to design a better future. Together we can reimagine a sustainable future for every child in Lao PDR.”
In support of the realization of child rights and the need to reimagine the Lao Generation 2030, the new Ministry of Health building and a school in Vientiane will go blue on 20 November.
As part of this year’s celebration, the Government of Lao PDR, including vice-governors, UNICEF, CSOs, development partners, private sector and children will also reiterate their commitments based on the pledge signed at the Lao Generation 2030 Forum in 2019 and elaborate on concrete actions they will put in place to realize this vision. Every stakeholder will have the opportunity to present their actions for children at the Reimagine Lao Generation 2030 high-level meeting to be held in Vientiane on 25 November.
In the lead up to this meeting, on 23 November, all the 18 vice-governors will meet in Vientiane to discuss context-specific commitments and action plans focused on reducing child poverty at subnational level. On 24 November, the National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children, with support from UNICEF, is organising a children and youth consultation to listen to children’s voices, understand how their lives are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and discuss their vision for 2030.
Children and young people from around the world are joining UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Ishmael Beah, David Beckham, Orlando Bloom, Millie Bobby Brown and Priyanka Chopra Jonas for virtual conversations in celebration of World Children’s Day. The high-profile supporters will share their conversations with young people from around the world about issues that matter to them, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and education, and how they would reimagine a better future.
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.