Lao PDR's Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC): Progress, opportunities, and challenges in the forestry sector

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Lao People's Democratic Republic (hereafter "Lao PDR") was the first country in Asia to submit its NDC, doing so in September 2015. Building on national development and environmental protection policies, the country aimed to make full use of existing institutional capacity and financial resources, and embed NDC targets in existing policies and planning. To date, NDC results have been mixed. The initial target for 90% of the rural population having access to electricity has already been exceeded with the figure now at 95%, while the forestry target of 70% forest cover has yet to be achieved. Political commitment is strong. The Government designated the Department of Climate Change (DCC) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) to become the national focal point for coordinating NDC implementation in Lao PDR. The Government has also issued a number of related laws and regulations, such as the new forestry law in June 2019 and the Decree on Climate Change in September 2019. Major challenges impeding the country's efforts to achieve its forestry sector NDC targets are persistent and similar to those identified 10 years ago. These are: policies and measures to address major drivers of deforestation and forest degradation not being fully implemented on the ground; poor coordination between key sectors; a lack of accurate and available data and credible methodologies for measuring outcomes; inadequate institutional arrangements for sustainable forest management and community participation; as well as a lack of available funds for implementing proposed activities. In order to achieve and enhance current NDC target ambitions, policies, measures and enabling conditions for transformational change (e.g. funding availability, national ownership, cross-sector collaboration, results-based payment mechanisms, and clarity over carbon and non-carbon benefits) need to be in place. Knowledge gaps that need addressing in order to provide credible evidence for the Government and donors to revise and adapt NDC targets, and better implement the NDC include: rigorous impact assessments of existing policies and initiatives on forest protection and development outcomes; and an integrated sectoral assessment on how realistic and feasible NDC targets could be achieved in supporting the National Green Growth Strategy and Sustainable Development Goals by mainstreaming Climate Change into national socio-economic development plans, vis-à-vis Paris Agreement ambition targets in each period.
Authors: Vongvisouk, T.; Thongmanivong, S.; Komany, S.; Inthaboualy, I.; Pham, T.T.; Moeliono, M.; Bong, I.W.; Phompila, C.
Subjects: environment, policy, climate change, deforestation
Publication type: Brief
Year: 2020

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