National Population and Development Policy Integration into Provincial Plans

The Ministry of Planning and Investments (MPI) and Borikhamxay provincial authority, with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), disseminated the revised National Population and Development Policy (NPDP 2019-2030) on Aug 31.

Present at the meeting were provincial representatives from Huaphan, Xieng Khuang, Vientiane (province), Xaysomboun, and Vientiane and related departments in Borikhamxay. The aim was to engage all provinces in population planning. The event was one of four previous launches in Vientiane and Savannakhet for southern provinces.

“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 very good opportunity for the Lao PDR to increase economic and social development growth. We need to invest now in our adolescent and youth’s education, health, and vocational development to be skilled and healthy employees with high responsibility for the national and community development, especially adolescent girls in the rural areas,” said Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Phonevanh Outhavong.

“I hope that provincial authorities will incorporate the indicators set out in this policy to their provincial plans,” she added.

“This policy is a fundamental guide that provides clear direction and information for our province to understand and invest in human development, especially in education, health, and skills development for the youth. The province and district level need to translate this policy into actionable and detailed plans and ensure that all targets set are achievable according to the timeframe,” said Vice Governor of Borikhamxay Province Bounseng Pathammavong.

The NPDP is a revision of the 1999 and 2006 population policies. It was developed with multiple sectors and the analysis of the population issues based on the recent census and survey data. This revised version also included an implementation matrix to help translate the policies into action and incorporate them into sectoral plans.

Laos is in the early stages of a demographic transition, meaning it will have the largest share of the working age population and fewer dependents (i.e. those below 15 years and above 65 years). According to the projection, the working-age population will continue to rise from 62 per cent in 2015 to 69 per cent in 2030; this NPDP is thus an essential guide to foresee and mitigate challenges and yield the benefits from the demographic dividend.

“I congratulate MPI for its leadership in the revision and dissemination of this policy. This policy will guide sector plans to contribute optimally to the 9th NSEDP and to the ICPD25 commitments as an essential milestone to the 2030 agenda. The population policy allows planners to take a people-centered approach for budgeting and ensuring the right investments in health and education are made. I believe that under the leadership of MPI, this policy will be implemented in all provinces,” said UNFPA Representative Mariam A Khan.

The population policy was first developed following the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), calling to integrate population into development planning towards achieving sustainable development. At the ICPD25, the Lao government reaffirmed its commitment to invest in the quality of data to inform the national development plans.

The Department of Planning of MPI led the process of NPDP revision incorporating population dynamics and building on the results of assessment of population issues. After the launch in Borikhamxay, MPI will continue to disseminate the policy in Luang Prabang with participation from the remaining provinces.

Source: Lao News Agency