Child rights are highly present in the EU portfolio of development cooperation with Lao PDR; 60% of all actions, representing 58% of resources allocated, are somehow relevant to child rights. In Laos, because of the concentration of EU spending in nutrition, health and education, there is a significant impact on child rights through larger projects implemented through the geographical envelope, in close cooperation with the GoL.
There is a significant difference in the profile of high, low and indirect relevance to child rights of the EU-supported actions implemented in the various provinces, as the following map illustrates.
Map: Lao PDR, relevance of the EU child rights portfolio by province
Source: Our classification of relevance to child rights of all projects in CRIS managed by the EUD in Vientiane
As the map illustrates, several poorer provinces in the far north and far south of the country have the highest proportion of high and low relevant projects, compared to indirect relevant projects; this is mostly due to the concentration of CSO projects, which tend to have a higher relevance to child rights, irrespective of theme.
CSOs are essential partners in the EU’s work on child rights in Laos: 82% of grant actions are somehow relevant to child rights. CSOs also implement all of the projects considered highly relevant to child rights. These represent 18% of the funds allocated to actions relevant to child rights. In contrast, 39% of funds allocated to non-grant actions are indirectly relevant to child rights. All these actions are indirectly relevant, meaning that children are included in beneficiary groups, but not specifically identified, or directly addressed.
The main sources of EU funding for child rights in Laos are DCI-Asie, DCI-Food and DCI-Env, which together represent 68% of allocated funds for relevant actions and 32% of the total number of actions. DCI-NSAPVD and EIDHR together represent 27% of allocated funds for relevant actions and 37% of the total number of actions.
The main child rights themes addressed by the EU in Laos are presented in the following chart. Basic needs (water, sanitation, nutrition and shelter), education and health are the most significant sectors. The EU and other DPs also make a significant contribution to the removal of unexploded munitions (UXO) from the American bombing of Laos before 1975. Only 16 of the 41 themes used in the classification of EU child rights support for this evaluation are detected in the EU Laos portfolio. This is the greatest concentration observed among the 12 fieldwork countries. There is also a relative consistency between the projects addressed by the high relevance projects (mostly implemented by CSOs) and the low and indirect relevance projects (mostly implemented by private contractors, and through agreements with MS and UN agencies.
The provincial distribution of themes is quite varied, as the following map illustrates. For some themes, this seems appropriate. Basic needs is addressed mostly in the far north and far south, reflecting the EU focus on nutrition and rural development in these poorer and more vulnerable provinces. Uxo interventions are concentrated in the east of the country, along the ‘Ho Chi Minh trail’. Education, disability and health are addressed in most parts of the country. In contrast, the remaining themes seem distributed not according to need, but as a response to CSO and other partners’ proposals to develop pilot interventions in specific locations where there is support from local stakeholders. Most interviewed CSOs said that they would be able to scale up some of their existing pilot projects, but that the difficulties in obtaining government support and ownership seem to be a greater obstacle than the availability of funds.
Map: Lao PDR, thematic structure of the EU child rights portfolio by province