Celebration of the International Day of the Girl Child and Launch of the Noi Friendly Business Criteria
Vientiane Capital, 14 October, 2020, — The International Day of the Girl Child was celebrated, led by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and 24 other development partners. The theme for 2020 was ‘My Voice, Our Equal Future’ and through the day, progress in implementing the 2030 Noi Framework -a multi-sectoral initiative for increased investments on adolescent girls in Lao PDR- was reviewed.
This year marked the fourth anniversary of the Noi 2030 Framework, which has become a mark representing 10-19 year old girls in Laos and the challenges they face but also harnesses solutions in support of adolescent girls.
Speaking at the event, H.E. Padeumphone Sonthany, Vice Minister of Labour and Social Welfare stated “We need to invest more in health, education, empowerment of adolescent girls and young people and need to work more for preparing them for decent work so that our young population can achieve their full potential and contribute to the sustainable socio-economic development of the country.”
Ms. Mariam Khan, UNFPA Representative in Laos, noted the growing number of partners, 26 this year who support the Noi approach and encouraged others to join. She said ‘Adolescent girls are part of the human capital of Laos, investing in their skills and opportunities can bring an equitable society- if they live free from gender based violence, early marriage, adolescent pregnancy, malnutrition, school drop-out and child labour. She noted collective efforts and progress made in providing comprehensive sexuality education and youth friendly services to adolescents and youth along with the recently scaled up telephone helplines, mobile application and telehealth.’
An innovative initiative ‘Noi Friendly Business Criteria’ jointly developed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, UNFPA and partners was launched to encourage private sector investment in employee wellbeing and engagement of the private sector in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.
Ms. Khan shared that global evidence shows that investing in employee wellbeing is a smart investment that provides high returns in productivity and eventually, also profit. She said ‘Partnering with the private sector for investing in the human capital of Lao PDR can accelerate progress to achieving the sustainable development goals, with barely 10 years to go. Population estimates show that every year now to 2020, over 80,000 new workers will enter the job market half of them will be young women.’
Participants from line ministries, the UN system in Laos, international NGOs, civil society organizations (CSOs) shared the achievements made and proposed next steps to address the remaining challenges within the 9th National Socio Economic Development Plan.
A diverse group of adolescents and young people shared experiences and aspirations. The Disabled People’s Community expressed their strength through artistic performance. Youth counsellors who provided psycho social support during COVID-19 shared advice, while tips on leadership were heard from the Chief Executive Officer of Lao Rugby Team.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Syvongsay Changpitikoun, Programme Officer- UNFPA Lao PDR
UNFPA, the UN's sexual and reproductive health agency, works in over 150 countries including Lao PDR, to achieve zero maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices towards women and girls.