The Global Environment Facility has pledged US$4.7 million to protect Lao wetlands from
Laos has defined two wetland areas under the Ramsar Convention on ‘Wetlands of International Importance’ which covers all aspects of wetland conservation and wise use.
These wetland areas are Xe Champone in Savannakhet province and Beung Kiat Ngong in Champassak province.
The project will deal with priorities identified under Laos’ National Adaptation Plan of Action for Climate Change with the aim of reducing climate change vulnerability of communities and two fragile wetland eco-systems upon which they depend.
The project will assess the vulnerability of the wetlands and the surrounding agricultural areas to climate change, and then support the local communities to develop approaches that protect the wetlands from the effects of extreme weather events that arise, while also developing their agricultural livelihoods in sustainable ways .
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Food Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) signed a new five-year project (2016-2020) on ‘Climate Adaptation in Wetlands Areas in Laos’ covering the two RAMSAR wetlands.
The new project was signed in Vientiane on Friday by the ministry’s Department of Environment Quality Promotion Director General Mr Khampadith Khammounheuang and FAO Representative to Laos Dr Stephen Rudgard.
The project will also involve the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and International Union for Nature Conservation, local authorities and villages in the concerned districts.
“This project will provide a major contribution to the protection of these critical national assets by allowing the communities in and around the wetlands to adapt their approaches to climate change,” Mr Khampadith said
Laos has stepped up the protection of its wetlands by joining the Ramsar Convention. The IUCN played a key role in the recent accession of Laos to the international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilisation of wetlands, according to the ministry.
The IUCN has worked with the Lao government on the process of accession to Ramsar since 2003, with support from Sida, the IUCN Asia Regional Office and the Mekong Water Dialogues Initiative.
Since joining the Ramsar Convention in 2010, Laos has designated the country’s first two wetlands of national significance, the Xe Champhone Wetlands and the Beung Kiat Ngong Wetlands.
The commitment from the Lao government to protect its vital natural wetland resources comes at a crucial point in the nation’s rapid and transformative economic development.
The signing ceremony was attended by Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Ms Bounkham Vorachith and other invited guests.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update May 9, 2016)