Геопространственная информация в поддержку устойчивых продовольственных систем

Climate Adaptation in Wetlands Areas (CAWA) in Lao PDR (FSP)

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) is a landlocked country with a total area of 236,800 square kilometers and an estimated population of 6,803,699 in 2014, up from 4,574,848 in 1995. Its 2013 Human Development Index ranked 139th worldwide, and per capita GDP was USD1,646. Laos features a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. Agriculture, particularly rice cultivation, plays a crucial role, contributing to half of GDP and employing 80% of the workforce. Additionally, Laos is experiencing growth in tourism and is a significant exporter of hydroelectric energy, with approximately 8,000MW committed for export to neighboring countries.

The project targets the two unique and globally significant wetland ecosystems of Lao PDR: Xe Champone wetlands in Savannakhet province and Beung Kiat Ngong (BKN) wetlands in Champasak province. These areas are the country’s only two declared Ramsar sites and play a crucial role in the livelihoods of local communities. The project seeks to help these communities adapt to the impacts of climate change while ensuring the long-term sustainability of their livelihoods.
Climate change will significantly impact these two sites. Their gentle slopes, shallow and meandering rivers, and sediment buildup issues make them prone to flooding.
Efforts to adapt, such as altering watercourses, may have negative consequences. Groundwater will be affected, impacting habitats, species, and communities.
Biodiversity will also suffer, affecting large water birds, fish, and the critically endangered Siamese crocodile. Local livelihoods, including rice and livestock production, fishing, and non-timber forest product collection, will face challenges as well.

FAO is a key partner in project supervision, technical guidance, and operational execution. Its extensive experience in sustainable agriculture, food security, livelihood improvement, and natural resources management positions it as a pivotal actor in transitioning to climate-smart agriculture and enhancing eco-system and livelihood resilience.

The project will help local communities adapt to the impacts of climate change, and contribute to the sustainability of their livelihoods, by supporting the restoration and sustainable management of the globally important Ramsar-designated wetlands on which they depend.  

The project uses an ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) approach, whereby the ability of the wetlands to buffer local peoples’ livelihoods against Climate Change (CC) impacts will be safeguarded through a combination of improved planning and governance conditions, direct investments in climate change adaptation (CCA) measures and livelihoods strengthening, and support to CC resilient forms of sustainable use, with a strong focus on creating lasting capacities among national stakeholders at all levels to sustain and replicate these benefits.  These activities will be supported and oriented through investments in knowledge generation regarding the vulnerability of local communities to disasters and CC, the importance of wetlands for CCA, and options for their sustainable and resilient management.

Lessons learned in these two wetlands regarding community-based vulnerability risk assessment and strategies for CCA, based on principles of EBA and sustainable use, will be replicable elsewhere in Lao PDR, the greater Mekong region and beyond.