FAO in Lao People's Democratic Republic

Lao People's Democratic Republic National Plan of Action on Anticipatory Action initiated through Anticipatory Action Technical Working Group meeting


Vientiane Capital, Lao People's Democratic Republic – On 20 March 2024, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) organized the second quarterly meeting of the National Anticipatory Action Technical Working Group (AA TWG), held at Landmark Riverside Hotel on 20 March 2024. The event was well attended by a diverse range of partners and stakeholders, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Research Institutions several United Nations agencies, international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), and prominent civil society organizations (CSOs) operating in Lao PDR, and theEuropean Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO). The meeting was chaired by Mr. Kindavong Luangrath, Deputy Director General of Social Welfare Department of MoLSW, and co-chaired by Mr. Chanthalath Pongmala, Assistant FAO Representative to Lao PDR.

The National AA TWG is the key strategic secretariat body established with the aim to bring together stakeholders for the implementation of AA in Lao PDR, including members of national government agencies as well as UN agencies and INGOs responsible for hazard forecasting and early warning, emergency preparedness and response. The National AA TWG has been tasked to support the development of AA triggers for action, as well as the documentation of AA delivery and impact, among other responsibilities.

The National AA TWG aims to facilitate a shift in the way disasters are managed from responding after a shock toward proactively mitigating the impacts before anticipated disasters. Through AA, when a disaster is forecast then pre-approved financing is released for actions to deliver pre-agreed early actions to prevent or reduce disaster related damage, loss and suffering of the population at-risk. The AA approach protects people at risk from disasters with dignity, and can be a more cost effective use of humanitarian funds.

Mr. Kindavong noted the importance of the National AA TWG and anticipated positive outcomes for the year 2024 as improved coordination and partnership will be fostered, and more key actors will be brought in to participate in the process. He highlighted the relevance of the AA TWG’s joint AA Action Plan 2024-25 for facilitating a shift towards more anticipatory action taking place in Lao PDR. He highlighted the link of this working groups action plan toward supporting the implementation of the ASEAN Framework on Anticipatory Action in Disaster Management.

At the meeting, Mr. Chanthalath expressed that this event will provide opportunity to build on the mapping and planning of the AA TWG members. He explained that in addition to sharing and learning from different agencies on early warning and anticipatory action initiatives, the meeting will help form develop the AA Action Plan and set the agenda for the working group going forward.

During the meeting Update on United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction presented on the development of the ‘Early Warning for All’ Roadmap in Lao PDR, People in Need presented on the EWS1294 project, the World Food Programme presented on the AA Capacity Framework in development, and the government of Laos PDR’s Department of Meteorology and Hydrology presented on Drought Preparedness alongside FAO.

To ensure fruitful outcomes, more involvement of AA TWG’s members is welcomed. In this regard, its membership is open to all government ministries, humanitarian and development agencies, civil society organization and other stakeholders engaged in the Anticipatory Action in Lao PDR.

This initiative is facilitated as part of the Pilot Programmatic Partnership between the DG ECHO and FAO on increasing capacities and scale for Anticipatory Action including through social protection systems. At the meeting Mr. Davide Zappa from DG ECHO expressed his welcome at seeing actors in Laos PDR coordinating closely on anticipatory action. DG ECHO have been supporting the  programmatic partnership has been ongoing in Lao PDR since 2021. The project has already yielded several achievements including raising awareness of the Anticipatory Action approach, developing a drought Anticipatory Action trigger methodology, and drafting drought and Anticipatory Action Protocols.