Laos P.D.R. counts 77 Districts in 7 provinces, and has a population of 28 M people. LoCAL has engaged in 12 districts in Laos P.D.R.

Climate Vulnerability:

As global temperatures rise, Lao PDR can expect rainfall, storms, droughts and floods to become more severe and frequent. The effects of climate change are already having serious impacts on the livelihoods and living conditions of people in the country. Floods and storms destroy infrastructure by washing away streets, damaging buildings or interrupting electricity supply. In the near future, 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. Increased vulnerability towards the negative effects of climate change is compounded by natural resource–driven economic development, such as the country’s heavy reliance on mining and hydropower generation.

National Response

Many small-scale village-level infrastructure projects such as irrigation schemes or water supplies for domestic consumption are built on ad hoc–based traditional knowledge only, which lacks the necessary technical know-how and financing to be climate risk-proof. The challenge lies in limited understanding of and awareness about the effects of climate change on the ecosystem and gaps in local capacity and budgets to build resilience.

Lao PDR is in the process of piloting a devolution strategy called the Sam-Sang, or three builds due to its three-tiered approach. Sam-Sang 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, LoCAL helped build the capacities of local authorities to deliver better public administration and services in two provinces: Saravane and Sekong.



The overall objective of the Effective Governance for Small-Scale Rural Infrastructure and Disaster Preparedness in a Changing Climate project, in which LoCAL is earmarked, 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.
• Securing ecosystem services and assets.

The project makes use of a local government grants mechanism – specifically, the District Development Fund–Climate Resilient Grants (DDF-CRG) operating under the National Governance and Public Administration Reform Programme (NGPAR) led by the Ministry of Home Affairs – as the primary entry point for delivering performance-based climate resilience grants (PBCRGs) in Saravane and Sekong Provinces.

Operating through the DDF-CRG, LoCAL has supported fiscal decentralization and delegation of authority and responsibility from the central government to local administrations. This initiative is in line with the government’s 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.

12 Districts engaged

29 Adaptation investments

510,275 Indirect Beneficiaries

Budget: US$ 298,119

Action on Climate Change:

In total, 29 small-scale rural water infrastructure (water supply, irrigation and wetlands management, and bridges and culverts) were developed and successfully implemented over three fiscal years between 2014/2015 and 2016/2017. The district administrations led the infrastructure development process, using a participatory and bottom-up approach and following public expenditure management procedures in accordance with DDF-CRG guidelines, instructions and manuals.

  • The total number of local beneficiaries in the 12 districts is 6,311 households and approximately 47,400 people, of whom approximately 22,100 are women.
  • ■ A total of US $2 million in climate financing has been transferred to 12 districts of two provinces in Southern Lao PDR through the existing UNCDF-supported DDF block grant system to ensure that projects supported by the Global Environment Facility’s Least Developed Countries Fund as well as baseline DDF projects are made more climate resilient and address the climate resilience needs of target communities.
  • ■ Capacity building of local governments was central to the LoCAL strategy; a total of 333 local officials have been trained (including 38 women) on climate change mainstreaming, planning and budgeting.

■ A detailed climate risk assessment process was developed; it integrates nature-based solutions with engineered infrastructure. The process can be replicated elsewhere in the country ensuring incorporation of ecosystem considerations into infrastructure planning and design.

  • ■ The project has also helped update the existing Guidelines on Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change in Lao PDR with specific reference to small-scale rural infrastructure. These guidelines will be applicable across many sector agencies dealing with the design and implementation of rural infrastructure.
  • ■ Various assessments and evaluations have been carried out to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the initiative: UNCDF commissioned an independent international consultancy to conduct an assessment of usage of the DDF-CRG guidelines and manual in 2016, and the United Nations Development Programme commissioned a mid-term review and a final evaluation; these were conducted in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Results have been taken into account to improve project design.

© UNCDF-LoCAL Photos C.Jancloes

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