Laos PDR is in the process of piloting a devolution strategy called the Sam-Sang. It aims to develop the province administrations as strategic units, the districts as comprehensive strengthening units and the villages as development units. In the spirit of the Sam-Sang, the LoCAL mechanism helped build the capacities of local authorities to better public administration and service delivery in two provinces: Saravane and Sekong.
Temperatures are rising in Lao with rainfall, storms, droughts and floods expected to become more severe and frequent. The effects of climate change have serious impacts on the livelihoods and living conditions of people in Laos. Floods and storms can destroy infrastructure by washing away streets, damaging buildings or interrupting electricity supply. Expected impacts include crop failure, lack of drinking and irrigation water as well as an increase in vector-borne diseases such as malaria or dengue.
Vulnerability in Lao is compounded by the country’s reliance on natural resources for its economic development. Some of Laos’s major forms of natural resource use such as rain-fed rice cultivation and hydropower generation are very vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change.
Many small-scale village-level solutions such as irrigation schemes or water supplies for domestic consumption are built using traditional knowledge, which does not take into account increasing climate risks either due to lack of information or insufficient local budgets.
Approximately USD 2 million in climate finance will be provided through a LoCAL mechanism integrated within the existing UNCDF-supported District Development Fund (DDF) block grant system, to ensure that LDCF projects as well as baseline DDF projects are made more climate resilient and address the climate resilience needs of target communities.
Since the LDCF 2 project uses the existing DDF modality with mainstreaming of climate resilience, it promotes fiscal decentralization and delegation of authority and responsibility from the central government to the local administration. This initiative is in line with the government’s newly introduced Sam Sang (3 Builds) decentralization policy, under which local administrations have been given a greater role and responsibility in exercising discretionary decision-making power and authority.
Objectives, results and activities
The overall objective of the Effective Governance for Small-Scale Rural Infrastructure and Disaster Preparedness in a Changing Climate project is to improve local administrative systems affecting the provision and maintenance of small-scale rural infrastructure through participatory decision making that reflects the genuine needs of communities and natural systems vulnerable to climate risk. The project has three main outcomes:
- Inclusive planning, budgeting and capacity development for reducing climate- and disaster-related risks
- Local investment for reducing climate risks, guided by climate vulnerability and disaster risk assessments carried out under Component 1
- Securing ecosystem services and assets
The project will make use of the DDF operating under the National Governance and Public Administration Reform Pogramme (GPAR) which is led by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), as the primary entry point for delivering local climate change adaptation infrastructure in Saravan and Sekong Provinces.
- First four pilot projects selected and are being implemented based on the results of the preliminary vulnerability and adaptation assessment conducted during project formulation.
- Climate resilient grants totaling USD 154,052 delivered to support construction of the pilot projects.
- Draft climate resilient performance-based grant system designed for districts.
- Climate resilience criteria integrated into existing DDF guidelines; final review for endorsement is in progress.
- Project staffing completed, with all positions filled and operational.
- Adaptation measures and investments:
Following the first cycle of planning and budgeting of the LoCAL performance-based climate resilience grant, initial adaptation measures and investments are expected in 2016 and 2017
- All projects selected in each fiscal year are parts of the district investment plans (District Social-Economic Development Plan).
- Deadline for finalizing the project list, including detailed design and costing to ensure the total estimated cost remains within the budget envelope, needs to be ready well in advance of government endorsement in NA.
- Initially, if possible, preference should be given to rehabilitation and strengthening climate resilience of existing projects rather than to new construction schemes, as the latter will need more effort in assessing feasibility from a climate vulnerability perspective, and existing capacities, design guidelines and available time may not be sufficient
- Coordination and collaboration between the relevant government ministries and UN agencies are key to programme success
Planned actions include the following:
- Complete the climate resilience vulnerability assessment and make report available
- Transfer grants amounting to USD 995,948 to support the 12 climate resilience infrastructure projects approved for 2015/2016
- Complete a topographical survey for the 12 projects
- Complete and finalize the selected 12 CR projects in FY 2015/16 at an estimated cost of $995,948. 13 projects are approved.
- Endorse final design of a climate resilient performance-based grant system for districts to be fully implemented in 2016.
- Continue implementation of 12 projects in two southern provinces.
Government of Lao PDR
Mr. Nisith Keopanya
Director General of Planning and Cooperation Department, MoHA
Mr. Phouvong Luangxaysana
Director General of Disaster Risks Management and Climate Change Department
Mr. Vanxay Bouttnavong
Head of Climate Change Adaption Division, MONRE