It has been over 4 years since the international community unanimously agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For millions of children, the extent to which the world delivers on the SDGs promise will determine the course of their lives – shaping the future of the planet they will inherit, affecting their chances of surviving in their early years, growing and thriving physically, learning and developing their minds to their full potential, and participating actively in their communities and the wider world.

The Lao PDR has over the years prioritized nutrition as a development issue and has been active at the global stage through the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement since 2011. Through the concerted efforts of multiple stakeholders, stunting which is the result of chronic undernutrition reduced from 44 percent in 2011 to 33 percent in 2017 (LSIS). In spite of this significant progress, there exists wide disparity of levels of stunting and intensity of child deprivations across the country, with poor and rural areas most affected. Stunting reduction is a development priority for unleashing the unlimited potential of the next generation in Lao PDR, and we were happy to support UNICEF Lao PDR and the Ministry of Planning and Investment in their efforts.

Stunting affects the growth and development of children. This impacts on their cognitive development and ability to learn. Stunted children do not realize their full growth potential and tend to have lower income levels in adult life. This report “Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis on Stunting among children under 5 years in Lao PDR” is an extension of the Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) report, titled SDGs and Children – Measuring Progress on Child Wellbeing in Lao PDR. The analysis shows very strong positive correlation between stunting and children who are multi-dimensionally deprived in Lao PDR.

This report highlights the need for concerted effort by all stakeholders to address the multiple and overlapping determinants of stunting in Lao PDR. Supporting the ambition and commitment of local authorities through capacity building at provincial, district and village level for better planning, implementation and monitoring of initiatives to address multi-dimensional poverty among children is critical. The success of any action implemented based on this report will depend on convergent inter-sectoral planning and coordination while ensuring effectiveness and efficiency of budget spending for social sectors to achieve results at scale, focusing on most deprived children.

Download the full report from UNICEF Lao PDR.