“We are providing funding so that we can test the social protection pilot in the south of the country. And our hope is that what has been tested is something that the Lao Government will be able to, with others support, roll-out nationally particularly to help women and young children to be able to benefit the most and particularly poor children and poor women.” - Mr. Jean-Bernard Carrasco, Ambassador of Australia to Lao PDR
Despite a challenging onset of the JP due to restrictions posed by COVID-19 related prevention measures, the collaboration with the Government proved reliable and promising. A number of key activities are expected to be initiated and/or finalized in the upcoming weeks and months. For example, the NSPS is being operationalized by finalizing an implementation roadmap, identifying and weighing different cost scenarios for social welfare programs and developing a Monitoring and Evaluation framework. Furthermore, the JP will establish the conditions for future domestic and external financing of social welfare schemes as well as proposing proper public financial management procedures to account for social protection related expenditures and revenues. Last but not least, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, with support from the JP’s partner organisations, is in the final steps to launch a pilot test for the nation’s first cash transfer programme: the Mother and Early Childhood Grant, which will be the subject of an upcoming blog post.
The Joint SDG Fund exists to close the loop between UN Country Teams, governments, private sector, and civil society to help stimulate collective action for the betterment of humanity and our planet. The Joint SDG Fund invested USD 70 million, and mobilized USD 32 million in co-funding, into a portfolio of 39 countries on integrated policy solutions for social protection to Leave No One Behind (LNOB). The United Nations Joint Programme (JP) on Leaving No One Behind – Establishing the Basis for Social Protection Floors in Lao PDR is implemented by the ILO, UNICEF and UNCDF under the overall coordination of the UN Resident Coordinator.