Water and Wetlands

Programme Background

As the longest standing thematic programme of the Lao country programme, the Water and Wetlands programme has a long history of work with the Government of Lao PDR and other development partners in the region. Using its convening power and position as a neutral body, IUCN Lao PDR is continuing its work in the water field by bringing diverse stakeholders to the table to improve understanding of this resource, enhance effective governance and raise awareness of the rising pressures on Lao PDR's water resources.

In line with the Asia region Water Programme, IUCN Lao PDR encourages collaborative, efficient and sustainable water resources management mechanisms to ensure that secure water for all. Through our work with local leadership, communities, governments and regional development partners, we seek to continue implementing multi-stakeholder processes to promote healthy watersheds and wetlands. 

Four Thousand Islands, Southern Lao PDR

Projects and Scope

Global Resilience Partnership Challenge Pre-Proposal Phase I

Climate change vulnerability assessments conducted in three Ramsar sites in the region indicate that local communities are already facing the impacts of climate change which, combined with other human-related threats are quickly leading to adverse effects on local livelihoods, infrastructure and ecosystem services. Communities reported scarcity of water during the dry season, climatic variability and increased floods as main threats leading to loss of crops, livestock and destruction of houses and infrastructure. Coping strategies reported by communities include permanent or seasonal migration to urban areas to work as wage labourers in difficult conditions, or, increased use of irrigation, pesticides and chemical fertilizers to increase yield or expansion of cultivated areas into wetlands. The region’s governments support and advocate for large water management infrastructure (e.g. dikes, dams, water gates) as a way to reduce the risk of floods and store ‘excess’ water for the dry season. Proven best practices promote natural infrastructure benefits, as being complementary and also supportive to existing and proposed grey infrastructure favouring, for example, non-structural measures including increased natural water storage capacities, and better weather forecasts and early warning systems.

Climate Change Adaptation in Wetland Areas (CAWA)

In response to biodiversity surveys carried out int he two Ramsar sites and the recognition that agricultural encroachment is the greatest threat to the wetlands of Beung Kiat Ngong and Xe Champhone, FAO and MoNRE have designed a project to address the challenges and called upon IUCN to provide technical support and its experience in the two Ramsar sites. The CAWA project seeks to reduce climate change vulnerability of the communities and the wetlands ecosystems. The project would not just be wetlands-focused but would also focus on the livelihoods of people in and around the wetlands and the interactions between communities’ livelihoods and wetland ecosystems.

Building River Governance in the 3S Basin (BRIDGE 3S)

The Sekong, Sesan and SrePok trans-boundary rivers of Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam are tributary rivers of the Lower Mekong, contributing up to 18 percent of its annual total discharge. The 3S Rivers – as they are collectively called – are instrumental in the hydrology of the Lower Mekong.
The 3S river basin is also a breadbasket for the livelihoods of over 3 million people, many of whom depend directly on the rivers’ resources. As the Asian region develops, the 3S Rivers are expected to continue playing a significant role in the economic growth of the basin, and the region as a whole.

For more information visit: http://www.3sbasin.org/ 

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Laos river with fishermen