At a glance
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.