50 Years of Cooperation between Government of Lao PDR and UNICEF Celebrated at High-level Event
A journey of five decades to fulfill the rights of every child in Lao PDR.
Vientiane Capital, 22 November 2023 - H.E. Dr. Sonexay Siphandone, the Prime Minister of Lao PDR, and a host of senior leaders of the Government of Lao PDR and UNICEF, along with partners, gathered today to mark the 50th year of collaboration for promoting and protecting children’s rights in Lao PDR.
The event featured Ministers, the Vice Governors from all 18 provinces of the country, ambassadors, Heads of UN agencies, representatives from the private sector, non-governmental organisations, civil society, and over 120 youths, who all gathered to reflect on the past achievements in promoting child welfare and charting future strategies.
"My sincere appreciation to UNICEF in Lao PDR for the continue support and excellent contribution extended to the Government in its national development effort and endeavours over the past five decades, " stated H.E. Dr. Sonexay Siphandone, Prime Minister of Lao PDR. "We are profoundly grateful to the ministries, both central and local sectors, our development partners, and organizations from all parties, as well as everyone who joined us in this celebratory ceremony," added the Prime Minister.
On this momentous occasion, I wish to emphasize that this celebration of 50 years of cooperation symbolizes our unwavering commitment and determination to continue our journey with strength and sustainabilty.
During the high-level event, the Prime Minister and government officials engaged with 120 Lao youths, who, after a three-day consultation led by the National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers – Children (NCAWMC), presented their perspectives on critical issues like child marriage, online safety, and climate change.
“Over these five decades, together, we all have made remarkable progress in enhancing the wellbeing of Lao children and young people,” said Dr Pia Rebello Britto, Representative of UNICEF Lao PDR. “While challenges persist, our collective efforts have led to significant advancements in protecting and promoting children's rights—the right to health, the right to education, the right to happiness, the right to protection, the right to nutrition, the right to water and sanitation, and the right to participation. This year’s celebration is more than an acknowledgment of our past; it's a pivotal moment to recommit to our children's future,” continued Dr. Britto.
In this moment, we must pledge to put children front and centre of our policies and investments - because investing in children is essential for achieving our goals and ensuring this nation's sustainable growth.
Additionally, vice governors from all provinces reported on their efforts to reduce child poverty, demonstrating the national commitment across the country.
In the presence of over 300 delegates, the celebration featured a panel discussion with the heads of WHO and Save the Children, and representatives from Australian Embassy/DFAT, Ministry of Education and Sports and Lao Youth Union, on how investing in children can help propel Lao PDR towards achieving the SDGs.
Participants pledged their support to continue developing Lao human capital by 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, particularly in the post-pandemic context.
Chanphone Xongchaiyieu, UNICEF Lao PDR’s Youth Advocate, also took to the stage to share her personal journey and to deliver a message on behalf of youth across Lao PDR.
We, the children and youth of Lao PDR, are more than just beneficiaries of change; we are active contributors eager to shape our future and that of the country towards a more positive one.