The Lao PDR Global Climate Change Alliance Programme

Climate change manifestations in Laos include an increase in temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns – which, based on climate model projections, are likely to be accentuated in the coming decades. Climate unpredictability has become the norm. Rainfall variability is a critical issue for rural livelihoods, which depend primarily on agriculture. There is also evidence of an increasing risk of flash floods in mountainous areas across all provinces.

In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, Laos used to be a net carbon sink. However, due to rapid deforestation driven by both legal and illegal logging, commercial concessions and large mining and energy projects, combined with forest degradation linked to slash-and-burn cultivation, the country has now become a net emitter of greenhouse gases.

The Second National Communication to the UNFCCC was approved by the government in January 2013. This document provides a basis for mainstreaming climate change into the National Socio-Economic Development Plan, for assessing activities and policies related to climate change, for undertaking awareness-raising activities and for developing  a greenhouse gas emission mitigation plan.

Lao PDR was the first ASEAN country to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change at the Conference of Parties (COP21). In the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) 2015 details the Laos’ Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) and Nationally Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA).

Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) on Rural Electrification in Laos aim at 90% electrification by 2020. To achieve this, the focus will be put on the expansion and maintenance of power supply based on economic efficiency; developing and strengthening laws and regulations through partnerships between public and private sector; increasing the nation’s capabilities whilst developing international-standard techniques; expansion of electricity exports and promotion of electric power development; and achieving sustainable development by focusing on impacts and responsibilities related to environmental and societal issues.

The National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) lays out a country-driven programme tackling projected and immediate climate change adaptation requirements in water resources, forestry, agriculture, and public health sectors. The National Strategy on Climate Change (NSCC) goes into further detail on the NAPA action plans, covering the main sectors of the economy such as food security, agriculture, forestry and land use, energy and transport, water, urban development, industry and public health sectors – all of which are projected for implementation by 2020.  

Targeting adaptation and disaster risk reduction

Overall objective:

Mainstream climate change into the Government of Lao PDR's poverty eradication efforts.

Specific objectives:

  • Promote sustainable natural resources management and improved land management.
  • Promote sustainable, climate-friendly and climate change resilient forms of agriculture and agroforestry.
  • Contribute to the government’s overall objective of significantly reducing the number of ‘priority poor’ districts in the Northern provinces.
  • Increase resilience to climate variability and change, and the level of food security, in target districts.

These objectives are in line with the 7th National Social and Economic Development Plan and the agenda for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Main expected results and activities: 

The GCCA programme uses a holistic approach, meaning it will involve actors from the grassroots level, government district staff and provincial authorities, as well as decision makers and policy makers at a national level. Capacity strengthening and awareness-raising activities will focus on government agencies at community, district and provincial levels, including the district and province offices of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and those of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy.

The GCCA programme is focused on three Northern provinces (Luang Prabang, Phongsaly and Houaphan) where the EU is already active under geographic and thematic programmes. This is to maximise both the efficiency of the EU interventions and to better mainstream climate change into these other interventions.

Local, provincial and national institutions and capacities are strengthened with regard to designing and implementing plans addressing climate change.

Support will be provided to the Government of Lao PDR at central, province and district levels in appreciating, and effectively responding to, climate variability and climate change consequences for rural livelihoods.

Grassroots pilot activities enable improved agricultural practices, sustainable natural resource management and environment-sensitive livelihoods in selected areas, and contribute to resilience to climate change.

Coached by a team of experts, government staff, together with the rural community, will elaborate sustainable, climate-resilient land use approaches and adapted farming systems. Activities will involve the selection and implementation of village-level demonstration schemes/initiatives aimed at increasing food security and the adaptive capacity of local communities, agriculture and livestock-related ecosystems.

Lessons on climate change from grassroots activities influence policy making and are communicated to relevant decision makers.

Lessons learned from climate change adaptation activities at grassroots level will be assessed, documented and reported. The experience gained will be shared broadly with all development partners, notably through the sub-sector Working Group on Environment, with a view to placing climate change-related issues higher on the Government of Lao PDR’s agenda, and identifying practical responses to climate variability and change in uplands rural development. Recommendations will be made at the national level and will feed into policy dialogue.

Key achievements: 
Recent achievements of the project on Landscape management and Conservation Agriculture development for Eco-Friendly Intensification and Climate Resilient Agricultural Systems in Lao PDR - EFICAS (Contracting party: CIRAD) include the following:
  • Studies: 3 studies were conducted related to the agrarian transitions in northern Laos, the sensitivity of conventional cropping systems to climate change in northern Laos, and the methods to assess village community resilience to climate change.
  • Socio-economic and environmental baselines: Definition (indicators & variables, collecting methods) and data collection in 16 villages (8 intervention + 8 control),
  • Community-based Agricultural Development Plans (CADPs): co-implementation and co-assessment of the CADPs defined for 2015 in the 8 intervention villages,
  • Purchase and delivery of agricultural inputs and machinery in the 8 intervention villages in support of CADP implementation,
  • 5 training sessions provided to village communities (6 different topics) in support of CADP implementation,
  • On-farm experiments (17 topics) implemented with the support of DAFO staffs in the 8 villages,
  • On-farm experiments co-designed and implemented in 2 technical Service Centres.
 
Also, the Northern Uplands – Piloting Climate Resilience (NU-PCR) project (Contracting party: CARE DK) has undertaken a comprehensive adaptation planning process, through which a range of appropriate options for adapting agricultural livelihoods to current and future hazards were identified in cooperation between male and female farmers, the district government offices as well as the project team. Further specific assessments of each of the adaptation options identified were conducted, including collection of baseline data for these livelihood options. 
The key strategies for adaptation in Phongsaly include: i) maintaining and consolidating the diversification of livelihoods of farmers ii) equipping farmers with decision-making tools for long-term livelihoods planning, iii) promoting agro-forestry practices to maintain quality of soil and availability of water.

Share this article