Effective Governance for Small Scale Rural Infrastructure and Disaster Preparedness in a Changing Climate


The project adresses climate risks to local infrustracture in the context of the need to strenghten local administrative capicity, accountibility and public participation, at the same time. Local administrative systems affecting the provision and maintenance of small scale rural infrastructure (including water and disaster preparedness) will be improved through participatory decision making that reflects the genuine needs of communities and natural systems vulnerable to climate risk.

This project uses the UNDP/UNCDF Governance and Public Administration Reform Programme (GPAR) as the primary entry point for delivering concrete climate change adaptation measures in both drought- and flood-prone provinces of Lao PDR. GPAR, since its inception in 1994, has been supporting the administrative de-concentration process through formula based district development funds (DDF) for improved service delivery along with national policy development and capacity development for civil servants. The DDF facility, allocated as discretionary financial resources, provides greater flexibility to local administrations to reflect the genuine needs of local communities into the local development planning and budgeting process.

Project Details

The available climate science indicates that dry seasons are likely to increase in length in Lao PDR while wet season rainfall will occur in even shorter, more intense intervals. While annual precipitation for the Mekong region as a whole is projected to increase by 13.5% by 2030, with most of this occurring during the wet season (May – September), the drier extremes of current projections indicate decreases of up to 25% against historical values. Climate change induced changes in precipitation and resultant change in the river flows of the Mekong and its tributaries, will affect the hydrological regime of the river catchments and watersheds – including wetlands, riparian zones, forests and grassland.

These systems play a crucial role in flood control, water infiltration, ground water recharge, water storage and release. As such, they provide a natural buffer against natural disasters and creeping environmental change, protecting essential small and micro level infrastructure, such as ponds, wells, rainwater storage systems, check dams and irrigation channels and dams.

Climate change impacts are likely to adversely affect this buffering capacity of natural ecosystem and pose an increasing risk of floods, droughts, erosion and landslides. This affects small scale rural infrastructure rural vulnerable populations are heavily reliant on, such as water harvesting, storage and distribution systems.

In an ideal world, local planning and budgeting should integrate emerging development challenges, such as climate change, into local development processes  while ensuring effective local participation into decision making processes. In reality, this is not yet the case and the voices of local communities are often bypassed. The proposed project addresses climate risks to local infrastructure in the context of the need to strengthening local administrative capacity, accountability, and public participation, at the same time.

Thematic Area: 
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
The rural communities of Lao
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Water Resources and Environment Agency (WREA), Government of Lao
Public Administration and Civil Service Authority (PACSA)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Project Status: 
Source of Funds Pipeline
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
Co-Financing Total: 

Key Results and Outputs

Outcome1: Incentives provided for local administrative institutions to integrate climate risks into participatory planning and financing of small scale rural infrastructure provision

  1. Technical capacity enhanced for at least 250 province, district and village officials, university staff, Not for Profit Associations, local watsan and disaster management committees to understand and integrate climate risk information, including on climate induced disasters, into local planning, investment and execution.
  2. Climate vulnerability and disaster risk assessments carried out in two or three provinces as an input to national, province and district planning regulations and guidelines.
  3. Regular dialogues established between district officials, village representatives and local communities on the impacts of climate change and natural disasters on critical rural infrastructure and ecosystems in vulnerable areas, in at least 6 districts.
  4. District level annual investment plans which integrate climate resilience, ecosystem based adaptation and disaster risk reduction measures developed and under implementation, in at least 6 districts

Outcome 2: Small scale rural infrastructure protected and diversified against climate change induced risks (droughts, floods, erosion and landslides) in two or three provinces and at least six districts.

  1. Climate-resilient water harvesting, storage and distribution systems designed, built and rehabilitated in at least 120 villages (80,000 people), based on projected changes in rainfall patterns and intensity.
  2. Village shelters and assembly points, evacuation channels, improved drainage, and other measures to promote resilience to local climate induced disasters built and rehabilitated in at least 120 villages (80,000 people), based on projected changes in rainfall patterns and intensity.
  3. At least 250 local officials, Watsan Committee members, local disaster management committee members, engineers and local contractors have been trained in managing climate risks to small scale rural infrastructure, as well as technical design elements of climate resilient structures.
  4. Codes and best practices for climate proofing small scale rural infrastructure including ecosystem based approaches are developed, integrated into existing guidelines and disseminated, including gender differentiated concerns

Oucome 3: Natural assets (such as wetlands, forests and other ecosystems in sub-catchments) over at least 60,000 Ha are managed to ensure maintenance of critical ecosystem services, especially water provisioning, flood control and protection under increasing climate change induced stresses, in two or three provinces.

  1.  Physical measures to build resilience to climate induced risks implemented in at least 6 districts by increasing natural retention and storage of surface water- natural wetland management, reforestation and slope stabilization.
  2. Physical measures to build resilience to climate induced risks implemented in at least 6 districts by increasing groundwater infiltration and aquifer recharge – gully plugging, terracing, check dams, vegetation cover increase.
  3. Knowledge and learning materials on climate change, rural infrastructure and ecosystem management developed and disseminated through existing networks and platforms.

Reports and Publications

Project Brief / Fact Sheet


Angus Mackay
Regional Technical Advisor
Bruno Cammaert
CO Focal Point