Climate change awareness integrated into local planning and national legislature

Dec 24, 2015

Climate change affects Lao PDR increasingly. Photo: UNDP Lao PDR/Silvia Jundt

Two climate change projects aim to encourage climate change adaptation in water resources and small scale rural infrastructure and disaster risk management.

More than 100 Government officials and development partners working in the field of climate change and disaster risk management gathered today at the National Convention Center to review the performance and identify the next steps for two projects implemented by the Department of Disaster Management and Climate Change and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): “Effective Governance for Small Scale Rural Infrastructure and Disaster Preparedness in a Changing Climate” and “Integrated Disaster Climate Risk Management”.

Both projects prepare the Lao PDR to address the impacts of climate change on the country and build resilience to climate-related events.

“Effective Governance for Small Scale Rural Infrastructure and Disaster Preparedness in a Changing Climate” (GIDCC) started in June 2013, aiming at building capacity among provincial, district and local authorities in Sekong and Saravane Districts to integrate climate risks into their existing development planning and budgeting. The project also supported authorities in their ability to execute priority infrastructure and ecosystem management projects that increase local resilience to climate change.

With the help of GIDCC, District Development Fund Guidelines have been revised to include climate resilience criteria.  GIDCC is about to complete a Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment and pilots Ecosystem-based adaptation in Sekong and Saravan, linking it increasingly to infrastructure resilience. Infrastructure resilience means making rural construction standards stronger and focusing on managing the surrounding ecosystem.  

The second project, “Integrated Disaster Climate Risk Management” (IDCRM), started in May 2013 and has substantially moved forward the drafting of the Disaster and Climate Change Law.  One of the project’s key achievements is the successful completion of the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) which was prepared together with the support of the British Embassy in Lao PDR and submitted to the United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Sept 30, 2015. The INDC outlines Lao PDR’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change through particular actions.

The Joint Annual Review Meeting was chaired by H.E Mme. Monemany Ngoybouakong, Vice Minister of MONRE, and Ms. Azusa Kubota, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Lao PDR. H.E. Mme. Monemany mentioned: “Both projects have been contributing signicantly to disaster and climate change management in Lao PDR, particularly the preparation of the Disaster and Climate Change Law and effective management of rural infrastructure against climate impact.” Ms. Kubota said: “The impact of climate risk is increasing globally, however, the solutions can be made locally. (…) Building resilience against risks and set-backs is critical for accelerating the efforts on poverty reduction.”

This Joint Annual Review Meeting for 2015 presented an opportunity to identify areas for collaboration and identify any gaps that need to be addressed before the finalization and approval of the project annual work plans for 2016.

Globally, 2015 has been a very important year in the field of climate change and disaster management as we are approaching the end of the Millennium Development Goals, eight ambitious targets that aimed to halve poverty, end hunger, boost education and gender equality, amongst others, on a global scale. In 2016 the post-2015 development era starts with the Sustainable Development Goals at its core. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will promote peaceful and inclusive societies, create better jobs, and tackle key environmental challenges. They should help shift the world onto a sustainable development path, with 2030 as the target date. Unlike the MDGs, the new development agenda applies to all countries, rich or poor.

2015 also represents the transition from the Hyogo Framework for Action to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. The new framework emphasizes risk reduction and climate resilience.  In addition, at the end of 2015 at Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, we have just witnessed a new historic climate agreement that is legally binding in the aim to reduce the global emissions. The impact of climate risk is increasing globally, however, the solutions can be made locally. Both projects mentioned here are contributing significantly to climate risk management in Lao PDR and have been strengthening community resilience to changing weather patterns.  

For more information, please contact:

Vichit Sayavongkhamdy, UNDP Program Specialist, Tel: 021 267 719