Stakeholders Gather to Strengthen Child Protection Systems and Protect Rights of Lao Children

The annual meeting of the Child Protection and Assistance Committee (CPAC) facilitates collaboration and discussion towards better protecting the rights of children in the Lao PDR.

The National Child Protection and Assistance Committee (CPAC) this week held its annual meeting, presided over by Lee Pao Yang, Vice Minister of Labour and Social Welfare and President of CPAC, and Dr. Pia Rebello Britto, UNICEF Representative to the Lao PDR.

The CPAC plays a crucial role in safeguarding the well-being and rights of children in the Lao PDR, coordinating and implementing efforts to protect children from abuse, exploitation, and all other forms of harm. According to a 2017 national survey, nearly 70 per cent of children aged 1-14 in the Lao PDR experienced some form of violent discipline within the last month of participating in the survey, underlining the need for a strong child protection system in the country.

The meeting was an opportunity for partners to present and discuss the activities in 2022 and plans for 2023, including the presentation of the new National Plan of Action for Child Protection System Strengthening 2022-2026. Over 100 participants attended the meeting including Vice Provincial Governors from across the country, CPAC at the central level members and representatives from development partners.

“In 2022, several achievements have been made while we still face some challenges. In this regard, today’s meeting will serve as a platform to discuss ways in which the child protection system can be strengthened and able to be implemented at the local level and integrated effectively across all sections” remarked Lee Pao Yang.

The Vice Minister further stressed the importance of building a strong child protection system in the country, while also recognizing the notable progress achieved in safeguarding Lao children. He also noted however that there is still much work to be done to ensure a better future for them.

In recent years, the Government of the Lao PDR has made significant achievements in protecting children, including undertaking the first comprehensive process of strengthening the Child Protection System and developing the Social Service Workforce in the region.

Such endeavours include the assessment of the Child Protection System in the Lao PDR in 2019, the development of a Core Recommendation for Child Protection System Strengthening, which was endorsed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in 20230, the National Plan of Action for Child Protection System Strengthening 2022-2026, and National Strategy for the Social Service Workforce development in the Lao PDR.

“The launching of the first-ever National Plan of Action for Child Protection System Strengthening is an exemplary result of the strong partnership between the Lao Government, UNICEF, and development partners. As we celebrate UNICEF Laos’ 50th anniversary this year, we pledge to continue supporting the Lao Government in fulfilling its development goals and ensuring that all children in the country have a safer future,” said UNICEF’s Dr. Pia Rebello Britto.

During an earlier technical meeting on Apr 26, Vice Presidents of Provincial Child Protection and Assistance Committees, along with technical staff from relevant Ministries and agencies, exchanged experiences and ideas. Their discussions centred around strengthening the capacity of CPAC and the Village Child Protection Network. Together, they agreed upon a comprehensive set of actionable measures aimed at making a significant impact and achieving these objectives.

These achievements were made possible with the support of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Programme (ANCP).

Source: Lao News Agency