Vientiane, 12 December 2016
UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF jointly signed a Letter of Agreement on the implementation of their new country programme documents with officials from the Government.
(from the right to the left) Vice Minister of Planning and Investment Dr. Kikeo Chanthaboury, UNICEF Laos Representative Ms. Hongwei Gao, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Mr. Balasubramaniam Murali and UNFPA Deputy Representative Ms. Ulrika Rehnström Loi after signing the Letter of Agreement on the implementation of the new country programme documents. Photo: UN Lao PDR / Somlith Khounpaseuth
All three respective United Nations agencies are starting their new cycle of 5-year programming in 2017. In line with all other UN agencies, they will implement the new Lao PDR-United Nations Partnership Framework for the years 2017-2021, reflecting the collective contributions of the United Nations to support Lao PDR in achieving the development goals set by the Government.
Representing the Government at the signing ceremony was H.E. Dr. Kikeo Chanthaboury, Vice Minister of Planning and Investment. Dr. Kikeo stated that today marks another milestone in the Government partnership with the United Nations, as the period 2017-2021 coincides with the last push for Lao PDR to graduate from the Least Developed Country Status to develop into a modern upper middle income country by 2020. He thanked the three UN agencies for their support towards the development of Lao PDR.
While the specific programmes differ in line with their respective mandates, the three agencies share common goals and strategies, as all will collaborate with other United Nations agencies and development partners to support the achievement of the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the additional local Goal 18 on UXO and other key national development objectives. UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF will also support policy and legislative reform, capacity building of government institutions, and work on South-South cooperation. Another common theme among the three agencies is the work done for and with young people, an essential component in a country with some 60% of its population below the age of 25.
UNDP Lao PDR’s new country programme concentrates on key target groups: poor people and those most at risk of falling back into poverty, especially rural agricultural workers and communities in or near protected areas. This focus includes youth, particularly young women, for skills development and increased awareness of their rights to access justice and public services. UNDP will also expand efforts to facilitate South-South and triangular cooperation, especially among ASEAN countries. Through its convening role in the national Round Table Process, UNDP will strengthen policy dialogue and create systemic change to address inequalities, promote more inclusive development financing, and support the use of public-private partnerships for job creation and skills development.
UNFPA Lao PDR’s new country programme will focus on marginalised population, in particular rural and ethnic women, adolescents and young people. It aims to ensure that adolescent girls are empowered to delay their first pregnancy and can fulfil their full potential while contributing to a sustainable future of Lao PDR. The programme will prioritise the strengthening of policy framework to ensure universal and equitable access to sexual and reproductive health services. It will also work towards increasing the national capacity to deliver comprehensive midwifery and to produce, analyse and use quality disaggregated data. The heart of the 5-year programme will be to ensure an increased availability of gender-sensitive information and services on adolescent sexual and reproductive health.
The overall goal of UNICEF Lao PDR’s new country programme is to ensure that children, especially the most disadvantaged, fully enjoy their rights to survival, development and protection. While the programme will operate at the national level in the areas of policy advocacy and capacity strengthening, activities to improve service delivery will prioritise seven provinces selected after a disparity analysis carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Planning and Investment: Bokeo , Phongsaly, Houaphan, Xiengkhouang, Saravane, Attapeu and Sekong. The new country programme is built around five main areas: Health and Nutrition; WASH and Climate Change; Education; Child Protection; and Social Inclusion, which includes data and policy analysis, communication for development and youth participation.