Photo Essay: Climate Change Adaptation & Gender Equality in Lao PDR
With financing from the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Least Developed Country Countries Fund (LDCF), the “Improving the Resilience of the Agriculture Sector in LAO PDR to Climate Change Impacts” project is an important example of how UNDP is supporting multiple goals concurrently. This project fights climate change and addresses gender equality simultaneously. This project reduces vulnerabilities to climate change impacts relating to agricultural production and food security, serves as a demonstration of community-based adaptive agricultural practices and off-farm income generation, and improves the lives of women.
Three provinces, five districts and over 30,000 households are learning new practices to reduce the gender gap and increase resilience to climate change. By mainstreaming important issues, such as gender equality, the project seeks to build a more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient world, and is making progress by taking a holistic approach to development.
UNDP is supporting efforts to “contribute to the eradication of poverty and the significant reduction of gender inequalities by empowering women and promoting and protecting their rights. By advancing gender equality and empowering women as agents of change and leaders in the development processes that shape their lives, UNDP envisages a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient world”. - UNDP Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017.
Building resilience to climate change in the agriculture sector is a central issue in Lao PDR, where almost a third of GDP (29.9 percent) is generated through the agriculture sector, and approximately 80 percent of the population is engaged in agricultural activities. In 2011, the Government of Lao, with support from UNDP, launched an important project, “Improving the Resilience of the Agriculture Sector in Lao PDR to Climate Change Impacts,” (IRAS) to minimize food insecurity resulting from climate change in Lao PDR and reduce the vulnerability of farmers to extreme flooding and drought events.
The IRAS project is working to address drought in the Savannakhet province, and floods in the Xayaboury province.
“Nowadays, the climate has been changing. Some years there are floods; some years there are droughts. The climate has changed for natural disasters. We see that rains do not start at their usual time. So, we see that some years there are floods and some years there are droughts.” - Mr Sila Phonepasert, Representative of the Farmers Group, Nongbuapinong Village, Phieng District, Xayaboury Province...
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