Climate Change

Fishing in floodwaters in Xe Champhone, Lao PDR.

Programme Background

Lao PDR is particularly vulnerable to climate change because 80% of the population relies on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods. Climate change impacts, such as unpredictable rains and extended dry seasons, can lead to serious consequences for Lao PDR’s economic development, human capacity, poverty reduction and environment sustainability.

To date, there has been limited assessment, analysis or projections regarding potential climate change impacts on the physical and social environment in Lao PDR, due to the lack of long-term climate data to support projections of future climate trends. However, increasing anecdotal evidence from the country has shown that the dry season is becoming longer, that droughts are more frequent and more severe, and that the incidence of unusual and extreme flood events are escalating.

To tackle climate change impacts, IUCN Lao PDR has developed a Climate Change Programme centred on applying ecosystem-based solutions to contribute to climate change-resilient development.

What is Ecosystem-based Adaptation?

Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) integrates the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services into an overall strategy to help people adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change. 

To apply this approach, IUCN Lao PDR will focus on two strategic components:

• Mainstreaming climate change within the IUCN Lao thematic programme areas, “Business, Environment and Communities” and “Water and Wetlands”.
• Building a specific climate change programme, based on past achievements (such as the development of the national protected areas system) and the unique strengths of IUCN - strong advisory role towards government and development partners, and science-based programme design. The Climate Change Programme shall contribute towards the implementation of the national climate change agenda, which can best be addressed through an ecosystem-based approach.

Programme Objectives

• Mainstream ecosystem-based approaches into climate change and development planning;
• Conduct capacity building activities on climate change issues for decision makers and local NGOs; for example, on ecosystem-based solutions, integrated water resources management, climate risk, vulnerability and adaptation analysis, and prioritizing and budgeting of adaptation options;
• Address and tackle climate change impacts in the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) sectors agriculture, forestry, water and food and nutrition security.

Projects & scope

Capacity Enhancement to Integrate Ecosystem-based Adaptation into Sub-national Development Planning in Lao PDR (CEEbA)

CEEbA intends to strengthen the climate change related institutional, policy and regulatory framework in Lao PDR, by building the capacities of administrative institutions to integrate climate change and climate risks into development planning using an ecosystem-based approach (EbA-type). The approach is to be piloted in the Northern Lao provinces of LuangPrabang, Phongsaly and Houaphanh province and will focus on the NAPA sectors agriculture, forestry, water and food and nutrition security.