Lao PDR hosts major global funds in push for a climate-resilient, sustainable future
Vientiane 12-14 February 2019 – The Government of Lao PDR through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has this week hosted a National Dialogue on the engagement between two major global funds, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The dialogue is the first of its kind in which the GEF and the GCF have fielded a joint country mission to examine the complementarity of the funds in financing climate action.
Over the past year, the two funds have taken steps to harmonize their efforts to improve the flow of climate finance to developing countries such as Lao PDR.
“Last year, we organized an event with GEF, where we offered countries the opportunity to draw on resources from these two funds in a complementary way. We are here today to respond to the leadership Lao PDR has shown by stepping up to this opportunity”, said Mr. Clifford Polycarp, the Deputy Director of the Division of Country Programming at the GCF.
The event also marked a milestone for the GCF-funded Readiness Support Programme, which the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been implementing in Lao PDR since 2018. As a part of it, the Government presented three key new products: the Lao PDR GCF Country Programme, the No Objection Procedure and the Stakeholder Engagement Guidelines. The documents have been designed to help guide the Government and various stakeholders on the sector priorities and procedures for accessing funds from the GCF.
“These products are foundations for any country that aspires to work with the GCF as it enables them to organize their house internally enabling stakeholders in the country to effectively engage with and benefit from GCF,” said Mr. Polycarp.
The Resident Representative of UNDP in Lao PDR, Mme Kaarina Immonen, was optimistic regarding the opportunities the new initiatives will bring for climate financing in Lao PDR. “As a Least Developed Country that is highly vulnerable to climate change, Lao PDR needs more resources to ensure that its economic development is built on a climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable foundation. The products launched today open up new avenues for Lao PDR to pursue its ambitious plans in keeping up with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” she remarked.
The importance of adapting to climate change was also highlighted by the chair of the dialogue, the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Mme Bounkham Vorachit in her opening remarks: “While we are still learning how to adapt to climate change, we are doing our best to accommodate by laying out various legal frameworks, strategies and visions. For example, the current National Socio-Economic Development Plan stipulates transitioning to Green Growth as a sustainable pathway for poverty reduction in Lao PDR.”
UNDP is currently supporting and conducting multiple projects around Lao PDR that are helping both government institutions and local communities in making this transition that is paramount to ensuring that Lao PDR is able to maintain and build upon the development achievements made in the last decades.