VIENTIANE, LAO PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $12.8 million in additional financing for the ongoing Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Project in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR).
The grant assistance is sourced from the Strategic Climate Fund-Forest Investment Program of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) administered by ADB.
In 2012 the Lao PDR was selected as one of 8 countries in the world to pilot the Forest Investment Program. This program aims to address sustainable forest management and prepare countries to access Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) financing.
Recognizing that the Lao PDR has significant forest cover and is one of the most biodiverse countries in Asia, the project supports community-driven sustainable biodiversity management in three southern provinces—Champassak, Attepeu and Xekong—in what is known as the ‘Tri Border Forest Landscape’ that connects Dong Houasao, Xepian, and Dong Ampham National Protected Areas.
Since 2010 the project has achieved good results in three main areas.
First, provincial biodiversity conservation corridor regulations have been issued to establish the legal foundation for corridor management. Land use planning has been carried out in 67 villages, covering 350,000 hectares (ha) of forest, and land certificates have been issued for 70,000 ha of forest. These actions strengthen communities’ land tenure and help underpin sustainable forest management.
Second, efforts to restore, protect, and maintain biodiversity in the corridors have resulted in more than 1,000 ha of newly-planted forest, regular forest patrols that cover 300,000 ha, and 300 km of corridor demarcation.
Third, thousands of households in the corridors have improved their livelihoods, helping to reduce pressure on forest resources and contribute to poverty reduction. Village development funds are sustainably managed in 67 villages, benefiting over a thousand families. Support for community infrastructure complements conservation and livelihood support activities, with many access roads, schools, health centers, and sanitation facilities planned for 2017.
Apart from environmental benefits, the additional financing targets poor and remote ethnic communities. Approximately 420 additional ethnic households will benefit directly from support for more productive and sustainable agricultural systems, including agroforestry and livestock management.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.