Climate Adaptation in Wetland Areas in Lao PDR (CAWA)

FAO in Lao PDR, with assistance from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is working with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) on “Climate Change Adaptation in Wetlands Areas in Lao PDR” - CAWA Project.

The project will help local communities in two important wetland areas of Lao PDR 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 will use an ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) approach, whereby the ability of the wetlands to buffer local peoples’ livelihoods against 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.

Wetlands of International Importance

Lao PDR is intimately associated with one of the world’s major wetlands with the Mekong River system. The Mekong basin covers 88% of the country.

The functions and values of the wetlands in Lao are significant and are also of critical importance to the livelihoods of local communities.

September 2010: Lao PDR joined the Ramsar Convention as 160th Contracting Party. Two Wetlands are designated of International Importance:

Xe Champhone Wetland - Savannakhet Prov.
Ramsar area: 12,400 ha (main wetland area 45,000 ha).

Beung Kiat Ngong Wetland - Champasak Prov.
Ramsar area: 12,360 ha.