The Director General of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Planning and Investment Sisomboune Ounavong, the Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to the Lao PDR Vincent Vire, and the Representative of UNICEF to the Lao PDR Pia Rebello Britto, on Feb 10 co-chaired the 2nd NIPN Annual Dissemination Meeting in the Lao PDR which provides an opportunity to share new evidence and research findings on nutrition.
“The dissemination meeting today provides us with a very important opportunity to share the most up-to-date evidence and research, which will be extremely useful for decision-makers, including development partners, in addressing nutrition challenges in the country. In the COVID-19 context, this data is even more important, given the expected impact it will have on nutrition and food security,” she added.
The most important milestone for the NIPN project highlighted during this year’s Annual Dissemination Meeting was the launch of the NIPN dashboard and data repository, which has been developed with the purpose of enhancing the government’s monitoring capacity on the progress and results on nutrition at both the national and sub-national level and will allow for better monitoring of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) nutrition-related indicators.
While the dashboard and data repository website are primarily aimed at policy and decision-makers within the government as well as development partners, both the dashboard and data repository can also be accessed by the general public as it is an open website (https://nipn.lsb.gov.la/).
“The development of the NIPN dashboard and data repository represents a key achievement of the EU and UNICEF-supported project as it provides a good opportunity for tracking nutrition investments and results in the country. Ensuring the quality and reliability of data is essential for nutrition policy, planning, and financial decisions and I am sure that the government as well as different stakeholders will greatly benefit from using these tools,” stated Mr. Vincent Vire, Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation.
A series of reports and surveys were launched at the meeting. The Report on Barriers to Accessing Nutrition Services at the Community Level assesses the bottlenecks that prevent community members from accessing nutrition services and recommend actions that will increase access and uptake of nutrition services; while the Report on Nutrition Policy Landscape Analysis assesses the national and policy frameworks that support the implementation of the National Plan of Action on Nutrition (NPAN). In addition, the government presented the Preliminary Results of the Lao Economic Consumption Survey (LECS) and the review of the costed plan of the National Plan of Action on Nutrition.
In her remarks, Dr. Pia Rebello Britto referred to the findings of a recent analysis of nutrition expenditure in the Lao PDR which revealed that over 65 per cent of the planned budget of NPAN was not funded. “Increased domestic funding through government resources will ensure sustainability of nutrition actions in the country,” she stated, and added “Whilst calling for increased government funding to nutrition, there is a need to improve the current chart of accounts to accommodate nutrition. This will improve the tracking of resource allocation and expenditure of nutrition in the country,” she concluded.
The National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN) project is an international initiative of the European Commission with support from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) of the UK government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Currently, the Lao PDR is one of the nine countries globally where NIPN is being implemented. This initiative is an integral part of the government’s nutrition programme, which is supported jointly by the EU Delegation and UNICEF in the context of their Partnership for Improved Nutrition.
To conclude the meeting, the United Kingdom Ambassador to the Lao PDR John Pearson, praised the government for its leadership and ownership of the NIPN process in the Lao PDR. “The UK is delighted to be associated to this initiative that has contributed to strengthen nutrition data collection, analysis and data use for policy making. We look forward to even greater engagement on nutrition in the country and to reinforce the nutrition partnership.”
Source: Lao News Agency