(KPL) Young representatives from central provinces presented on May 31 the outcomes of the children and youth consultations held across the country to the Deputy Prime Minister and President of the National Commission for the Advancement of Women, Mothers and Children Sonexay Siphandone, the Lao Women’s Union President Inlavanh Keobounphan and development partners.
Children took over the stage to highlight the progress done in the area of child wellbeing over the last few years, key challenges they are facing and propose solutions that will improve their lives.
I want every child to have access to quality education and be encouraged to learn. In 2030, I would like the Lao PDR to learn from other countries where children get free uniforms, school materials and access to technology in everyday learning, said Vanatda Panyavathnasibh, 15 years old.
Environment-related issues were also discussed during the consultations. By 2030, children want to see a greener country with more trees, public parks and an important reduction in plastic use. In their 2030 vision, children and youth in different consultations also referred to the importance of health and nutrition. I would like to see more and better qualified health workers and better equipment and technology in health centers, explained Salermxay Sivongsa, 15, adding that ensuring access to quality health services for rural children is also very important as they equal opportunities to grow health.
Talking about solutions to existing challenges, children put emphasis on the need to promote parenting education and proposed policy makers to increase efforts to address violence against children, including the implementation of campaigns to put an end to bullying in schools.
The results of these consultations are extremely important as they will lay the foundations for the development of the next national Plan of Action for Mothers and Children 2021-2025 and the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2021-2025. Listening to children’s voices we can also understand the level of implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the Lao PDR, said Ms Inlavanh Keobounphan who is a Vice President of the NCAWMC.
2019 marks the inception of the 9th NSEDP which is an opportunity to set a new agenda for the country building on Human Capital to achieve Sustainable Development Goals targets by 2030 and the implementation for the concluding observations on CRC, said UNICEF Representative to Laos Pia Britto.
These consultations are crucial as we have had a chance to listen directly from children what are the main challenges they face but also solutions to address those challenges. Let’s not forget that they are beneficiaries and targets of current policies but they are also change makers. Shaped by decisions made today, these children and youth people will go on and shape the county’s future in the years to come, added Pia Britto.
The NCAWM, with support of UNICEF has organized three consultations to mark the 30th anniversary of the CRC. One for the northern provinces in Borkeo, one for the southern provinces in Savannakhet and last one this week in Vientiane Capital for central provinces.
Almost 150 children of ages between 11 and 18 years of the age from the 18 provinces have participated in these consultations which aimed at providing a platform for children and youth to learn about the CRC and SDGs and express themselves.
Children are experts in their own lives and experiences. As stated in Article 12 of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child and young person under 18 years of age has the right to participate and have their opinions included in decision-making processes that relate to their lives. Through these consultations, the Lao government and UNICEF have worked collaboratively with children and young people to listen their views and valuable insight into how their rights can best be promoted, protected and fulfilled.
During the celebration, a message from the Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith was shown to mark the International Children’s Day. The Prime Minister called upon the Party, the government, mass organizations, corporate, partners and the wide public to focus even more on mothers and children and to consider children’s views and opinions in building the 2030 vision. We have to ensure that children are protected and receive care and support to develop to their full potential, and it is also important to ensure children’s participation on issues that matters to them. Children will be leading the development of the nation, thus, ensuring a happy childhood will contribute to create responsible citizens.
20 November 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Lao PDR ratified the convention on May 9, 1991. Throughout the year, the NCAWMC, MoFA, MPI and other line ministers along with private sector and civil society organizations and children themselves will organize, with support from UNICEF, a series of public engagement activities to build awareness, support and commitment to action on the implementation of CRC and SDGs.
Source: Lao News Agency