The UK is active globally in encouraging ambitious action to tackle dangerous Climate Change. David Vincent, Head of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s South East Asia Climate Change and Energy Network travelled to Laos to explore existing climate change endeavours and scope possibilities of future cooperation between the UK and Laos in the climate change and energy field. In a series of meetings with relevant government institutions, Mr. Vincent discussed Lao energy policy, learned about Laos’ understanding of climate change impacts and made initial contact with a range of government institutions to explain the UK’s interest in energy policy and climate change mitigation. He also met a range of development partners to find out what the donor community is doing in the field of climate change and climate forecasting, and whether there is scope to work more closely with Laos in this area.
Mr Vincent’s initial scoping visit precedes an Asia-Pacific regional workshop on Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA), which will be held in Vientiane in April. The UK is cooperating with Germany in a jointly set up facility to implement NAMA projects and both countries will be represented at the conference. NAMAs aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions strategically and support countries to move towards low carbon societies. One of the purposes of Mr Vincent’s visit is to raise awareness of the NAMA Facility, to which the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change has contributed €30 million and the Government of Germany € 40 million.
The UK’s partner in the NAMA facility process, Germany, has been contributing to Laos’ efforts in tackling deforestation with a REDD+ project (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation by creating financial value for carbon stored in forests, sustainably manage forests and enhance forest carbon stocks), implemented on a national level as well as in Huaphan province by the German development agencies GIZ and KfW. The Government of Germany also finances another project implemented by GIZ called ProCEED (Promotion of Climate-related Environmental Education). This project is focusing on climate change, biodiversity protection and adaptation. Germany’s support to adress climate change issues in Laos has a volume of currently approx. €25 million. Two British Universities, The University of Edinburgh and The University of East Anglia have also been partnering in the EU 7th with the National University of Laos on an I-redd project. I-redd works on developing remote sensing mechanisms, governance arrangements for the disbursement of REDD+ finance, capacity building, and designing monitoring, reporting and verification.
Laos ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1995 and the Kyoto Protocol (an international treaty obliging countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) in 2003. In 2010, Laos adopted a National Strategy on Climate Change and a National Adaptation Plan of Action Plan (NAPA). In 2013, the Lao PDR sent 10 delegates to attend the 19th session of the Conference of Parties (COP19) to the UNFCCC in Warsaw.
The UK provides £3.9 billion between 2011-2016 to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and move onto a low carbon growth path through the UK International Climate Fund.