Goal 13: Climate action
Lao PDR is highly vulnerable to climate change and will need to plan accordingly. The country is seeing an increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods. The majority of floods occur in the central and southern parts of the country, along the Mekong plain. From 1990 to 2015, Lao PDR had 21 severe floods and storms, affecting 500,000 people each. Reducing the impact of these disasters on the population will require adaptation measures, including effective disaster preparedness and risk reduction. Lao PDR is on track with the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances. These have declined to near-zero in 2014.
A comparison of greenhouse gas inventories for 1990 and 2000 shows that emissions had doubled in ten years. Lao PDR recorded a net sink of CO2 in 1990 and a net emission by year 2000. Of the total CO2 emissions, nearly all were emitted by land-use change and forestry. The agriculture sector produced the greatest share of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Climate change mitigation will depend on reversing the loss of forests and other land use changes.
The government is looking to create stronger policies and legislation by drafting a disaster risk management and climate change law (expected to be passed in 2017).
The Government requested UNDP’s support in the preparation of the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution with the aim of submitting in time for inclusion in the Global Synthesis Report to be presented at the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris. UNDP supported data collection and verification, and multi-stakeholder cross-sectoral consultation that included both government agencies and development partners.
There is no country that is not experiencing the drastic effects of climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions are more than 50 percent higher than in 1990. Global warming is causing long-lasting changes to our climate system, which threatens irreversible consequences if we do not act.
The annual average economic losses from climate-related disasters are in the hundreds of billions of dollars. This is not to mention the human impact of geo-physical disasters, which are 91 percent climate-related, and which between 1998 and 2017 killed 1.3 million people, and left 4.4 billion injured. The goal aims to mobilize US$100 billion annually by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries to both adapt to climate change and invest in low-carbon development.
Supporting vulnerable regions will directly contribute not only to Goal 13 but also to the other SDGs. These actions must also go hand in hand with efforts to integrate disaster risk measures, sustainable natural resource management, and human security into national development strategies. It is still possible, with strong political will, increased investment, and using existing technology, to limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, aiming at 1.5°C, but this requires urgent and ambitious collective action.