10 December 2020, Vientiane- A project launch and board meeting to address the Prevention and Elimination of Violence Against Women for Mainstreaming Gender into the National Development Agenda in the Lao PDR was jointly held at the UN House on 10 December, coinciding with International Human Rights Day and the last day of the 16 Days of Activism for Elimination of Violence against Women.
To strengthen national capacity for the effective, systematic and accountable prevention of, and response to, Violence Against Women in Lao PDR, the Lao Women’s Union will work together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Lao PDR. The four-year USD 2.7million project will be implemented from December 2020 to November 2024 and funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
This morning’s meeting was chaired by H.E Ms. Bouachanh Syhanath, Vice President of Lao Women’s Union, and co-chaired by Ms. Catherine Phuong, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Lao PDR, together with Mr. Victor Valdivieso, Deputy Resident Representative of UNFPA Lao PDR. Also in attendance were Ms. Jeonghee Im, Resident Representative of KOICA Lao PDR Office, government officials from the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), and civil society partners including Care International, Association for Development of Women and Legal Education (ADWLE), Association of Korean NGOs in Lao PDR (KNL) and the Gender Development Association (GDA).
Gender-based violence against women is a serious violation of basic human rights and this problem is a global problem across all societies, to which Lao PDR is no exception. In 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 has exacerbated existing gender and social problems and inequalities, and in particular worsened gender-based violence with movement restrictions leading to increased risk of violence and death.
Ms. Phuong remarked, "The project is very timely to address the gender-based violence issues given that the Government of Lao PDR has started the process to develop the 9th NSEDP and the most relevant sectoral plans - the next GBV strategic plan and the Legal Sector Master Plan.”
The project aims to draw attention to the critical linkage between gender-based violence and the achievement of the national development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will support national authorities to plan cross-sectoral initiatives to address and reduce such violence.
Ms. Im emphasized that “KOICA has been striving to build a support model for survivors of violence against women and girls” and “efforts among UNDP, UNFPA, LWU and KOICA will mainstream the violence against women issue as a major agenda for national development in Lao PDR, which will in turn contribute to the protection of all women in Lao PDR from violence.”
The state also has an obligation to implement and coordinate activities to respond to all forms of gender-based violence against women in a systematic way. Considering the aforementioned problems, there is a need to review and update the government’s strategic plan in order to provide clear guidelines for all 2 stakeholders to work together towards eliminating gender-based violence against women. In addition, the current governance mechanism should be strengthened to better coordinate various interventions and ensure Lao women’s participation in the discussion and implementation of EVAW related initiatives.
The LWU developed the national plan of action on EVAW and Gender Equality (2014-2020). UNFPA will provide support to the development of the next phase 5 year strategic plan on EVAW and Gender Equality (2021-2025) as well as the implementation guideline and M&E plan of the 5 year National Strategic Plan on EVAW and Gender Equality (2021-2025) through a participatory process to promote women’s participation.
Victor Valdivieso, Deputy Representative of UNFPA, said “UNFPA is proud to collaborate with LWU and UNDP in this joint project. UNFPA will be a technical lead agency in strengthening social and health sector capacity for the effective, systemic and accountable prevention of, and response to, violence against women in Lao PDR”.
This project, therefore, zeroes in on the critical linkage between the need to eliminate gender-based violence for the achievement of the national development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Drawing on lessons learned from both local and central levels, this project aspires to create a violence-free environment for women and girls by strengthening the governance mechanism through active participation from women and survivors of gender-based violence and mainstreaming gender-based violence into the national development agenda.
For further information on the project, please click here.
Ms. Aksonethip Somvorachit, Communications Analyst
Tel: 020 5502 1550