- National

National policies for gender equality integrated into provincial, ministerial and sectoral plans

The Lao Government has successfully integrated the Second National Plan of Action on Preventing and Elimination of Violence Against Women and Violence against Children (2021-2025) and the Fourth National Plan of Action on Gender Equality (2021-2025) into the plans of all 18 provinces and 17 line ministries, as well as ministry equivalent organizations.

Under the leadership of NCAWMC, with technical support from UNFPA and financial support from KOICA, over 780 government staff who have a role in drafting and implementing provincial, ministerial and sectoral plans were reached through 8 virtual workshops held over 3 weeks, to strengthen systems at the sub-national level to align with national policy frameworks.

The Action Plans were officially endorsed by the Government of Laos in May 2021 and the Prime Minister’s Decrees on implementation of the plans were issued in September 2021. These integration workshops ensure policy is translated into actions on the ground. During the workshops, each provincial and ministry leader presented their plans and operationalization mechanisms including key indicators, milestones, activities, coordination and monitoring frameworks.

Ms Mariam Khan, UNFPA Representative congratulated the NCAWMC on this important milestone. She said: ”A lot of effort was put in by NCAWMC and partners to align national policy frameworks with international standards for the protection and safeguarding of women and children. COVID-19 has increased urgency of the need for these plans to be implemented. The effective implementation and monitoring of these plans will advance gender equality; protect women and girls from violence, and improve access of survivors of violence to quality coordinated response and services.”

The two National Action Plans on GE and EVAW, implemented through provinces and line ministries, will serve as a national roadmap for the Government’s actions to promote gender equality and prevent and respond to violence against women over the next five years. They built on lessons learned from the implementation of previous National Action Plans, and integrated the Lao government’s international commitments to promote gender equality and eliminate GBV, including obligations under CEDAW, the ICPD25, the Beijing Platform for Action, and the SDGs.

Ms Bandith Prathoumvanh, Vice-Chairperson of NCAWMC, congratulated the leaders on the collaborative effort to date, encouraged representatives to continue on this pathway, and acknowledged and appreciated the technical support from UNFPA and financial support from development partners. “We have the national action plans in place. We have a strong alliance between the Government of Laos, NCAWC, LWU and UNFPA. We have financial support from many donors. We will now focus on continuing to work closely with the provinces, UN agencies, development partners and NGOs/CSOs so that this robust policy framework becomes concrete actions”.

The EVAW NAP emphasizes three core areas to address violence against women and children: prevention, response and coordination. The Gender Equality NAP prioritizes women’s health and reproductive health, political participation, economic empowerment, education, employment and social protection.

Mr Sangjun Kim, Acting Country Director of KOICA, also voiced his support: “KOICA has been supporting to mainstream EVAW into the National Development Agenda in Lao PDR, as one of core components for a cooperation project between KOICA, LWU, UNFPA/UNDP. I hope that all the efforts will end up with a turn in which all women in Lao PDR can be protected from violence.”

The development, integration and implementation of the National Action Plans falls under UNFPA/NCAWMC/LWUs broader work implementing the Essential Services Package for Women and Girls Subjected to Violence (the ESP), supported by many development partners.

Source: Lao News Agency