Environment & Energy: In-depth
Natural resource-based economic growth – mining, timber, hydropower, and industrial crop plantations – is putting new pressures on the environmental assets on which rural communities traditionally depend. Deforestation is severe, and unsustainable land and water use are rising. Concerns about land security for Lao families and rural communities are also increasing, with potentially serious implications for poverty, equity and the vital access to natural resources.
Environmental degradation combined with rising climate variability have resulted in increasing natural disasters – floods, droughts, erosion, landslides and pests. The high dependence of most rural people on agriculture and surrounding natural resources, together with continued gaps in adaptation to changing climatic conditions, likewise make the country highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. A need exists to strengthen human and financial capacities to manage natural resources, particularly at community level, and effectively enforce relevant laws.
UNDP supports growth that does not harm the environment. A core challenge thus is to strengthen people’s participation in the management of forests, watersheds and wetlands, as well as to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable people benefit from environmental investments and revenues in Lao PDR. Our work focuses on three priority areas: encouraging all national development planning to recognize links between environmental harm and poverty; strengthening the response to climate change; and improving environmental governance and promoting community-based natural resource management.
A core challenge thus is to strengthen people’s participation in the management of forests, watersheds and wetlands, as well as to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable people benefit from environmental investments and revenues in Lao PDR.
Recognizing the links between environmental harm and poverty
Our Poverty-Environment Initiative is part of a global programme, and represents a joint effort led by UNDP and UNEP to help the Government increase the proportion of quality investments with the most benefits for all people and the least impact on the environment. This begins with support to the selection of appropriate investors and consideration of poverty-environment linkages in formulating economic and development policies. Moreover, this is supplemented with development of national capacities to negotiate deals to ensure compliance with environmental frameworks, as well as practical management tools and systems to help achieve these goals.
Strengthening the response to climate change
UNDP has provided strategic guidance to the Government to develop a comprehensive and consolidated response to challenges related to climate change. It has assisted the Government in developing Lao PDR’s First National Communication on Climate Change to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and is currently providing support to the Second National Communication. It also has assisted with development of the National Adaptation Plan of Action. These important documents, together with the National Strategy on Climate Change constitute the backbone of the Government’s policy framework for preventing and responding to climate change.
Improving environmental governance and promoting community-based natural resource management
Lao PDR’s national legal framework related to environmental management is well-developed and relatively recent. In collaboration with the Government, UNDP has conducted a national self-assessment of capacity needs with regard to implementation of important global environmental conventions by Lao PDR. We also are implementing a follow-up project to the self-assessment, aiming to strengthen capacities at national and local levels for more effective implementation of legislation related to land degradation, biological diversity and climate change.
- The Government of Norway renewed its support to assist the UXO Sector in Lao PDR with a contribution of 6,000,000 NOK (equivalent to US$886,132) in support of UXO Lao’s operational capacity to clear Confirmed Hazardous Areas. The agreement was signed by Mr. Morten Hoglund, State Secretary of Norway, Ms. Kaarina Immonen, UNDP Resident Representative to Lao PDR, and Mr Bounheuang Douangphachanh, Minister to the Government of Lao PDR, President of National Leading Committee for Rural Development and Poverty Eradication, and Chairman of the National Regulatory Authority for the UXO Sector in the Lao PDR in a small ceremony at the UXO Lao office in Vientiane on Thursday 22 January, 2014. This support is timely as UXO Lao has just introduced a new concept of operations which focuses on evidence-based survey and clearance of well-defined Confirmed Hazardous Areas. This will support more effective clearance efforts by Lao PDR. Learn more about UNDP Lao PDR’s UXO Programme at www.la.undp.org #undolaopdr #conventiononclustermunitions #uxolaos #NPALaos 16 hours ago
- UNDP Administrator Helen Clark's speech to the Women’s International Forum highlights 2015 as, "An Important Year for Gender and Development." Read the full speech by clicking on the link below. #undplaopdr #helenclark 20 January AT 10:31 PM
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