New Partnership between Australia, UK, R. Korea, UNFPA and Lao Women’s Union
(KPL) In Laos, like elsewhere in the world, there are indications of higher tendencies towards domestic violence at this time.
COVID-19 related pressures of economic and social stress put women and adolescent girls in particular at more risk.
The risks include increased exposure to violence, to exploitation, and to abuse in the short term and in the medium term, especially for women and adolescent girls from poor households, a higher risk of domestic violence, dropping out from schools and engaging in child labor, early marriage and teenage pregnancy due to economic pressures and family expectations.
To protect women and adolescent girls, the embassies of Australian, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Korea in the Lao PDR are partnering with UNFPA to support the Lao government’s efforts to establish a referral pathway for women and girls’ victims/survivors of violence.
This initiative is part of a comprehensive set of actions planned within the draft National Plan of Action for Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Girls for 2021-2025.
The government of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Korea have placed a strong emphasis on protecting women’s and girls’ rights and responding to gender-based violence in the Lao PDR, recognizing that without protecting and investing in women and girls well-being, sustainable development is not possible.
The joint cooperation in the amount of 12.9 billion LAK between the government of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Korea will support the Lao Women’s Union to implement the CEDAW concluding observations and complements the existing GBV prevention-related efforts of the UNFPA country programme of assistance in the Lao PDR. Through these new partnerships, a National and sub-national coordination mechanism and referral pathway will be established and implemented.
The pathway and referral mechanism is a critical piece of a working and responsive national system that protects and responds to women and girl victims/survivors of violence in a timely manner and in times of crisis.
The work falls within the globally established Essential Services Package (ESP) for prevention and response to violence against women and girls.
The ESP is identified as a key element in the UN system’s COVID-19 response framework for the protection of women and girls.
A functioning referral pathway will allow victims/survivors of violence to access with ease the services available per sector and will improve coordination amongst the sectors.
The collaborations will also invest in the positive role men and boys can play to prevent violence against women and girls by rolling out in nine communities a manual on engaging men and boys for GBV prevention.
This project complements the overall UNFPA package of support to the government of Laos for Gender equality and Gender-based Violence prevention-related interventions.
Through diverse and multisectoral partnerships, UNFPA works to support the government of Laos in advancing its commitments towards the Programme of Action of the Int’l Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25), CEDAW and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, recognizing that these goals cannot be achieved without significant improvements in preventing and responding to GBV and ensuring women access quality sexual reproductive health services.