UNFPA Representative, NA’s Cultural and Social Affairs Committee Chair discuss monitoring of 9th NSEDP

UNFPA Country Representative Laos Ms. Mariam A. Khan paid a courtesy visit to Thoummaly Vongphachanh to congratulate her on her recent appointment as the Chair of the Cultural and Social Affairs Committee of the National Assembly (NA), and discuss further collaboration between UNFPA and NA in line with the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP), the International Conference on the Population and Development (ICPD) commitments, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Ms. Vongphachanh warmly welcomed Ms. Khan, expressing her gratitude for the ongoing and collaborative relationship between UNFPA and NA, and acknowledged UNFPA’s support to the NA and the Lao government. “UNFPA has been tremendous in supporting and contributing to the overall development of the country, and specifically the priorities of the NA,” said Ms. Vongphachan.

Priorities of the Cultural and Social Affairs Committee (CSAC) over the next 5 years include: developing, reviewing and reforming laws and regulations relating to social and cultural affairs; consensus on important issues of the Lao PDR; monitoring the implementation of the law, regulations and policy framework regarding social and cultural affairs; strengthening the capacity of CSAC members and improving cooperation with international organisations and strengthening ties with regional and global parliamentarians.

Ms. Khan identified a number of areas of alignment between UNFPA’s work and NA’s and Cultural and Social Affairs Committee priorities. This included i) population data and analysis, particularly the 2025 Census ii) sustainable development and investment in people, especially women and girls, and iii) monitoring the development progress of sector plans and 9th NSEDP through the NA indicators.

She said that “UNFPA invests in data to measure progress, including using the same indicators monitored by the NA. The population data and analysis inform planning and strategy development in health, education and gender and prevention of gender-based violence, identifying who is being left behind. Too often it is adolescents and youth, women and girls, who require additional investments for protection and empowerment.”

Ms. Khan elaborated on the need to invest in adolescent and youth development. “Almost half of the population of Laos is young people under 25 years of age. Thus, the Noi Framework was developed based on the data, and provincial governors have integrated the Noi Framework into provincial plans, along with the ICPD25 national commitments, to ensure adolescent and youth development in health and well-being, education, and employment by 2030.”

The meeting concluded with the parties agreeing to collaborate on the NA role for monitoring indicators related to the 9th NSEDP, particularly on education, health, labor and social affairs, women’s empowerment and gender-based violence.

The collaboration will be part of the UNFPA 7th Country Programme (2022-2026), which will support the Government of Laos to accelerate the implementation of the ICPD25 and achievement of SDGs by 2030.

Source: Lao News Agency