Climate change conference brings together agricultural experts from the region

17 Jun 2014

imageUNDP Deputy Resident Representative azusa kubota and Vice Minister of Agriculture and Forestry dr. phomphiphack opened the conference. Photo: UNDP Lao PDR/Daniel Hodgson
An international conference on adaptation to climate change in the agricultural sector opened today in Vientiane. The event, hosted by the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), will bring together participants from various scientific and research institutions as well as other organisations working in the field of agriculture and rural development from the Southeast Asia. 

The two-day seminar, held at the National Convention Centre, will be attended by around 150 delegates from Lao PDR, the Philippines, Cambodia and Thailand. The participants will be exploring and discussing the opportunities available in the region to minimize the impacts of climate change in agriculture.  

H.E. Dr. Phet Phomphiphack, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, who delivered the opening address at the event, told the session that the Lao Government is “seriously committed to developing climate resilience in the country”. 

“We will proactively look for measures to reduce and mitigate the release of greenhouse gases from agricultural production, and explore adaptation and mitigation techniques with farmers and communities”, he said. 

The Vice Minister confirmed that the Ministry plans to further develop NAFRI into a world-class research hub for climate resilience in the agriculture sector, with the aim of working closely with other research institutions in the region to exchange experiences and new technologies.  

The conference will be exploring links between climate resilience, poverty reduction and equity in access and use of the natural resources necessary for agriculture development. Over the next two days, the presenters will cover a wide variety of topics ranging from adaptation knowledge and policies to food production, water management and green growth.  

The event is organized by NAFRI as part of its four-year project “Improving the Resilience of the Agriculture Sector to Climate Change Impacts (IRAS)”, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). 

Ms Azusa Kubota, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Lao PDR said that: “This conference is an important step towards collaboration with similar institutions and partners in the region.”  

35 abstracts and presentations in total were submitted to the conference, of which 25 will be presented at the main event and ten shown as poster presentations. 

“We were pleasantly surprised to have such a large number of quality papers submitted to the conference, most of them from local agricultural experts”, said Manfred Staab, Chief Technical Advisor for the IRAS project. 

He said that organising the conference, the first of its kind ever organized in the region, demonstrates NAFRI’s commitment to emerge as a leading institution for climate resilience in the agricultural sector.

Lao PDR is an agriculture-based country with more than 70% of the rural population directly depending on agriculture and related activities for food and income generation. More recently, increasingly unpredictable weather patterns in the dry and wet seasons affecting traditional agricultural production and food security have been observed in the country. Impacts from the climate change also include more extreme temperatures and stronger monsoonal typhoons making the country more vulnerable to disasters. 

Contact Information

Ms. Fengthong Lattana / IRAS project Media and Communication Officer / Tel: 020 23221221 / fengthong@gmail.com