IUCN Lao PDR falls within the Lower Mekong Region Country Group, a management unit of IUCN in the Asian region, under the umbrella of the global unit which has its headquarters in Gland, Switzerland. Globally, IUCN brings together states, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and over 10,000 scientists and experts in its six commissions from 181 countries, in a unique worldwide partnership. The IUCN secretariat comprises more than 1,000 staff in offices covering 42 countries around the world.
IUCN's work in Lao PDR supports and contributes to the IUCN global mission:
To influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that the use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.
Since 1988, IUCN Lao PDR has played a key role in the establishment and management of the extensive system of 21 National Protected Areas (NPAs) in Lao PDR, which cover some 15% of Lao PDR’s land mass.
Some other achievements of the IUCN Lao PDR programme include:
1996 – Inventory of Wetlands of the Lao PDR
1998 – Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Manual for Road Projects in Lao PDR
1998 – Studies for the Environmental and Social Management Plan of the Nakai- Nam Theun Catchment Area (NT2 hydropower project)
1999 – Status Report on Wildlife in Lao PDR (English, 1999; Lao, 2003)
2003 – Protected Area Review with the International Centre for Environmental Management, ICEM
2008 – Rapid Participatory Biodiversity Assessment for a Stora Enso Eucalypt plantation in southern Lao PDR.
2008-2009 – NPA Review and preparation of NPA Categories Handbook under the Forestry Strategy to 2020 implementation project.
2009 – Improving Management of Hin Nam No Protected Area through the development of a Co-Management Plan with local communities.
2010 – Improving Management of the two Provincial Protected Areas in Boualapha District through the participatory development of a Co-Management Plan with local authorities and communities.
2010 – Support for Lao PDR’s accession to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands with Beung Kiat Ngong and Xe Champhone wetlands selected as the first two Ramsar sites.
2010 – Institutional set-up for multilateral environmental agreement (MEA) coordination and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) implementation; 4th National Report; preparation of Lao PDR delegation to CoP 10.
2011 – Co-developed the Gibbon Conservation Action Plan for Lao PDR 2011-2020.
2011-2012 – Conducted the first extensive ecological survey of the Mekong River between Luang Prabang and Vientiane.
2013 – Developed a management plan for Beung Kiat Ngong and built upon existing customary laws in Xe Champhone to design proposals for site regulation.
2013 – Conducted an Assessment of Lao PDR’s National Biodiversity Strategy 2015- 2020 and Action Plan 2010-2015.
2014 – Conducted biodiversity surveys of the Beung Kiat Ngong and Xe Champhone Ramsar sites, and recommended urgent conservation measures for birds species in the area.
In 2014, IUCN Lao PDR developed an interim country programme strategy, which will guide its activities in the country up until the 2016 World Conservation Congress to be held in Hawaii. This strategy provides a framework for IUCN Lao PDR’s engagement in the country until a full-fledged strategy can be adopted.
The IUCN Lao PDR country programme aims to improve its current positioning within conservation in Lao PDR by:
i) Communicating to all IUCN Bodies and Commissions for consolidation of IUCN efforts and Specialist Groups
ii) Improving and creating relationships with IUCN Commission Chairs to draw upon vast IUCN expertise for potential proposals and consultancies;
iii) Working closer with Lao government partners to strengthen long-standing partnership;
iv) Working with local NGOs to strengthen partnerships and capacity
v) Improving IUCN visibility in Lao PDR