Lao PDR leaving no one behind by integrating population needs in National Population and Development Policy revision

After the successful launch at Savannakhet, the Ministry of Planning and Investment and Vientiane with support of the United Nations Population Fund conducted the official Launch and dissemination of the revised National Population and Development Policy (NPDP 2019-2030) in Vientiane.

The event was marked by a strong participation of 35 from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Sports, Lao Women’s Union and related sectors as well as students from different institutions.

Shaping the strategy revision through the outputs from the assessments of the population needs in Laos was a great example of commitment from the Department of Planning of MPI. The revised strategy translates population dynamics and emerging issues, in all their diversity.

One of the main goals of the NPDP is to build a platform of cooperation and coordination through which the Lao government will partner with different stakeholders to address population issues and accelerate ICPD25 and the Sustainable Development agenda 2030.

The Lao PDR committed under ICPD25 to invest in the quality of data to acquaint the development of national plans. Data oriented efforts and investments towards key areas in need of strategic support to plan the deployment of funds, the technical support and the way forward in sector or multi-sector planning contributing to 9th NSEDP achievements.

The NPDP is very important to anticipate and lessen challenges for Laos which has a great potential of demographic dividend. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without assuring that all women and men, and girls and boys, enjoy the dignity and human rights to expand their capabilities, secure their reproductive health and rights, find decent work, and contribute to economic growth.

Developing policies and investments to secure that future requires that governments use data to know the size, sex, location, age structure, needs, challenges and opportunities of their present and future populations.

Laos can strongly benefit from the greatest demographic opportunity for development if it ensures the working-age population has good health, quality education, decent employment and a lower proportion of young dependents. Smaller numbers of children per household generally lead to larger investments per child, more freedom for women to enter the formal workforce and more household savings for old age. If this happens, the national economic payoff can be substantial and Laos will realize its “demographic dividend.”

Amongst the key elements of the NPDP revision there is: the integration of strong culture of data and situation analysis; incorporation of sector plan outcomes for clear responsibilities and inclusion of new emerging issues, reduction of infant, under-five and maternal mortality, improved access to reproductive health services, especially for youth, achieving gender equality and ending GBV and harmful practice and reducing socio-economic disparities

“This policy was originally derived from the previous policy that was created for a long time and when compared to the current situation, it has shown the changes of social-economic view, the development of SDGs situation. Population data based on the latest surveys of housing and population in 2015 revealed that our country has a younger population contributing to more than 60% of the total population and this trend will last for more than two decades. This is a great opportunity for the Lao DPR to increase its growth both economic and social development,” said Mr Kikeo Chanthabuly, Vice Minister of Planning and Investment.

“Human capital depends on investments in education beyond the primary level, but even more fundamentally it begins with investment in health, including sexual and reproductive health. This is particularly true as an entry point for the economic potential of women and girls. A population policy allows planners to take a people centered approach for budgeting and ensuring the right investments in health and education are made,” says UNFPA Representative Mariam A Khan.

Source: Lao News Agency