New programme to strengthen Lao PDR’s readiness to cope with impacts of climate change

Improving Lao PDR’s response to climate change benefits sustainable development

Vientiane, 30 November 2017 – “Rain patterns are not what they were”, says Khoune. “We cannot rely on enough rain during the rice-growing season anymore.” The young man is an inhabitant of Hang Heng Village in Saravane Province of southern Lao PDR, which sits amid broad wetlands and lakes. Water is the source of life for these villagers – it is the sap for their rice paddies and vegetable gardens, the drink for their buffalos and pigs, and the habitat of the fish they catch. But the area is vulnerable to climate change, so that during dry seasons, the wetlands are prone to drying out, while during wet seasons, floods threaten to wash away everything.

Lao PDR’s ability to take efficient and timely measures to deal with the impacts of climate change is crucial for building disaster resilience among communities, safeguarding food security and water supply, and ensuring people are healthy and have decent work. In the light of this, the Government, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has launched a project aimed at strengthening Lao PDR’s readiness to cope with climate change-related events.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a global fund set up by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010. It supports the efforts of developing countries to respond to the increasing challenge of climate change. Its Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme is a funding programme that provides Lao PDR with access to financial resources from GCF while simultaneously fostering the country’s ownership and capacity of setting its climate change priorities.

During the 18 months of project duration, the Department of Climate Change in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) will engage stakeholders in order to share information on GCF across several sectors and confirm priority climate actions for Lao PDR. Such actions can be related to forest and other ecosystems, community adaptation, responses in the agriculture sector and innovative models of resilience.

At the signing ceremony and inception workshop of the new Readiness Programme in Vientiane Capital, Mr. Balasubramaniam Murali, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative congratulated the Department of Climate Change in MoNRE on the continued and sustained efforts on climate action for Lao PDR and for receiving the first GCF Readiness and Preparatory Support grant. Mr. Murali noted that climate resilience for Lao PDR will contribute to disaster risk reduction, security of livelihoods and support the country in its long-term goal to graduate from Least Developed Country status and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. Sangkhan Thiangthammavong, Director General at the Department of Climate Change in MoNRE thanked UNDP for the support provided during the preparation of the readiness proposal and reaffirmed the commitment of Lao PDR towards a low carbon and climate resilient development. In this context, he highlighted the importance of this first GCF readiness support not only to reinforce the institutional capacity of the Department of Climate Change but also to establish the necessary processes, to raise awareness, to further define priorities and to enhance engagement with national and sub-national stakeholders.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Margaret Jones Williams, Head, Natural Resources Management and Climate Change, UNDP Lao PDR
E-mail: margaret.jones.williams@undp.org 
Office: +856 21 267 710, Mobile: +856 (0) 20 5551 5876

Ms. Chitlatda Keomuongchanh, Programme Officer, Natural Resources Management and Climate Change, UNDP Lao PDR
E-mail: chitlatda.keomuongchanh@undp.org 
Office: +856 21 267 782, Mobile: +856 (0) 20 55626162

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