MoFA and UNDP Affirms the Key Role of Non-Profit Associations in Realizing Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

December 9, 2022

25 national non-profit associations came together as part of the Briefing Session on Lao PDR’s first report on the realization of economic, social and cultural rights.

Sinsavanh Sonepaseuth, UNDP Lao PDR

Vientiane, 9 December 2022 – On the occasion of Human Rights Day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosted a Briefing Session for civil society on Lao PDR’s first report under International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The event convened 25 non-profit associations (NPAs) working on different areas, from poverty reduction, social development, and environmental protection to empowering vulnerable and marginalized groups.  

Lao PDR is one of 171 State Parties of ICESCR, which obliges governments to protect economic, social, and cultural rights, including the rights to education, work, food, health, and participation in cultural life, and undertake periodic reviews by the UN Expert Committee on the progress. 

“Economic, social, and cultural rights are at the heart of Lao PDR’s development priorities. Since ratifying ICESCR in 2007, the Government has incorporated its provisions into domestic laws and policies, including through 2030 Vision and periodic National Socio-Economic Development Plans (NSEDP), as well as a number of sectoral policies and strategies. The first Lao PDR report under ICESCR takes stock of their implementation and will be instrumental for the mid-term review of the 9th NSEDP next year,” noted Mr. Thepthavone Sengmany, acting Director General of the Department of Treaty and Law, MoFA.  

Decree on Associations commits NPAs to assist the Government in achieving socio-economic development, with a focus on poor and disadvantaged groups. Mr. Seán O’Connell, UNDP Assistant Resident Representative and Team Leader for Governance, highlighted that the ICESCR review could serve as a platform for NPAs to fulfill this role: “In addition to the direct service delivery at the grassroot level, NPAs are best placed to collect data from groups they represent on what works well and where we can collaborate further to strengthen access to education, food, healthcare, work, and social protection for all. By contributing unique peoples’ experiences to the ICESCR review, either through the national report or parallel reports, NPAs can help the Government improve people’s lives and achieve the development priorities of the 9th NSEDP.” 

The Briefing Session was conducted in the framework of the broader UNDP assistance to the Government and NPAs on human rights monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the UN Human Rights Treaties in Lao PDR, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and Convention against Torture (CAT). 


For more information, please contact:  

Ms. Aksonethip Somvorachit 

UNDP Communications Analyst  


Ms. Sinsavanh Sonepaseuth 

UNDP Communications and Outreach Officer for Governance