The project will address several capacity barriers by providing support to the National Climate Change Office and the institutions responsible for each of the eight Technical Working Groups (TWG) namely (i) agriculture, land use, and forestry - National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute, Department of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Department of Planning and Land Development, and Prime Minister's Office; (ii) water resources - Water Resources and Environment Research Institute; (iii) energy - Environmental and Social Division, Ministry of Energy and Mines; (iv) urban infrastructure - Department of Transport, Ministry of Public Works and Transport; (v) public health - Division of Hygiene and Disease Prevention, Ministry of Health; (vi) economy - National Economic Research Institute; (vii) financial instruments - Ministry of Finance; and (viii) clean production - Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The project will also raise awareness of the public and policymakers, and provide support for pilot adaptation actions in water, agriculture and forestry sectors in support of a "learning by doing" approach.
The project will involve six outputs grouped under two components: (i) capacity development and technical support, and (ii) pilot adaptation activities in priority sectors.
1. Assessment of investment and financial flows: To provide a sound economic basis for action, an assessment of investment and financial flows necessary to address climate change impacts will be undertaken in the water, agriculture, and energy sectors using methodological frameworks such as those being piloted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The assessment will serve as a long-term planning tool and provide input to budgeting for adaptation as well as for raising additional financing from external sources.
2. Technical assistance and policy support to the technical working groups. As the TWG structure of the National Climate Change Office coordinates climate change adaptation and mitigation across multiple sectors and government bodies, the TA will engage the TWGs in developing pragmatic work plans to realize the national climate change strategy. Training modules on planning and budgeting for adaptation actions, opportunities for maximizing co-benefits of these actions, and approaches for enhancing climate resilience of current and future investments will be drawn up. Further, since disaster risk management and climate change adaptation intersect, the TWGs will also be encouraged to coordinate closely with National Disaster Management Office at the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare. Training activities will be conducted in cooperation with the World Bank, which provided initial support to TWGs, and other bilateral and multilateral donors such as the United Nations Development Programme.
3. Education, training, and public awareness-raising campaign. The TA will include public awareness programs on climate change aimed specifically at youth, women, community leaders, and senior citizens. Training programs will target government personnel in both national and provincial environmental management units to build skills in economics, policy making, planning, and budgeting related to climate change through learning-by-doing activities, staff exchanges, study tours, and participation in local and national training events and forums. This output will help government representatives to forge long-term relationships with climate change professionals in both the Lao PDR and other countries. Moreover, theme-specific training programs on adaptation in selected sectors (e.g., water, agriculture, and forestry) will be conducted to present guidelines and operational manuals to extension personnel to implement specific adaptation projects and to apply for international funds such as the Adaptation Fund.
4. Collaborative mechanisms for information dissemination and additional pilot activities. This output, under the leadership of WREA, will include (i) disseminating lessons from the TA both nationally and internationally; (ii) supporting regional advisory and information-sharing bodies such as forums organized by the Mekong River Commission through its climate change adaptation initiative; and (iii) designing additional pilot activities to allow eventual scaling up and replication of the TA outcomes. The costs for implementing additional pilot activities will be estimated, and financing options will be identified to assist the government in their implementation following this TAs closure.
5. Pilot adaptation activities in the water sector. Under the leadership of WREA, the proposed TA will pilot activities for coping with droughts in a northern province and floods in a southern province. The drought pilot activity will focus on improved water conservation using groundwater recharge and bioengineering. The flood pilot activity will center on climate proofing infrastructure, including changing the design of embankments, culverts, and irrigation and drainage channels. Both pilots will be implemented by provincial water resources and environment offices and will build on current ADB projects in these provinces.
6. Pilot adaptation activities in agriculture and forestry sectors. These pilot activities will use an ecosystem-based approach to climate change adaptation and include (i) climate proofing infrastructure, such as rural roads; (ii) integrating indigenous knowledge in local adaptation plans; and (iii) adopting stress-tolerant cropping systems and varieties, focusing on rice ecosystems. Activities featuring greenhouse gas mitigation and other co-benefits (e.g., air quality, health improvement, and employment generation) will be prioritized, including (i) biogas generation from farm waste; (ii) carbon sequestration through agroforestry, afforestation, and reforestation; and (iii) system of rice intensification to reduce energy use and methane emissions. Efforts will also be made to promote biogas as a commercially viable industry by expanding its use for cooking, lighting, and water pumping, which will reduce deforestation caused by fuelwood needs. The pilot activities will be implemented by the provincial agriculture and forestry offices in close cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Lao PDR has made steady progress toward achieving Millennium Development Goals, but the country and its poorer communities are likely to suffer increasingly from climate change impacts, which risk annulling these past successes. The National Strategy and Action Plan on Climate Change (NSAPCC) notes that the dry season is becoming longer, droughts are more frequent and severe, and the incidence of extreme flood events is increasing. Between 1966 and 2008, the country experienced about 30 flood events, with one in 2008 causing a loss of $58 million. Strengthening climate resilience is thus central to the country's sustainable development and poverty reduction agenda. Translating climate change strategies, plans, and programs into concrete actions has been difficult due to constraints on human resources and institutional, technical, and financial capacities. The NSAPCC notes that climate change awareness is limited to a small circle of government staff members and that capacity to implement climate policies at the provincial level in designated environmental management units is almost nonexistent. The October 2009 fact-finding mission also confirmed that the capacity of the eight TWGs for implementing NSAPCC and for planning and budgeting for adaptation is limited.
The TA aligns with the overall poverty reduction goals of ADB assistance to Lao PDR. ADB's Country Partnership Strategy (CPS 2007-2011) supports the Government's priority sectors under the 6th National Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2006-2010 (NSEDP6), with a focus on improving the national and sector-specific enabling environment for poverty reduction. In addition to reforming sector governance, building sector capacity, fostering inclusiveness, and ensuring sustainability, the CPS includes investment in projects that require mainstreaming of climate change considerations. The TA will complement and strengthen links to other ADB projects [Sustainable Natural Resource Management and Productivity Enhancement (G0145); Northern Rural Infrastructure Development (TA7362); Small grant activity on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Strategies for the Rural Infrastructure Sector (TA6420)] in Lao PDR. The gap analysis carried out in the preparation of the Climate Change Implementation Plan (CCIP) for SERD identified a need for increased support to policy makers to take proactive role in planning national and regional programs on climate change. The TA will directly support integration of climate change considerations into development planning which is identified as a priority activity in the CCIP. The TA aligns with the approach advocated in the CCIP for SERD which identifies that efforts aimed at poverty reduction, combating land degradation and reducing loss of biological diversity and ecosystem services as well as enhancing adaptive capacity are more likely to succeed than singular, uncoordinated efforts.