Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is a historically, culturally and environmentally rich country with a rich diversity of landscapes, ecosystems and cultures. In 1996, as part of the response to this loss of biodiversity the Government of Lao PDR (GoL) acceded to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) also known as the Rio Convention. The GoL recognizes that biodiversity is currently declining at an unprecedented rate, due to human activities and increasing economic development. To address this problem, GoL took actions in the 1990s to address biodiversity conservation, by enacting laws and decrees and establishing a Protected Area System. The first Lao PDR National Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 and Action Plan to 2010 (NBSAP) was developed in 2004 and the 2nd NBSAP 2016-2025 is in current effect.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) has prepared a comprehensive Lao PDR Sixth National Report (6NR) for submission to the Convention for Biological Diversity. Support for this report was also provided by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). This process has involved extensive data collection, data analysis and the involvement, through stakeholders’ participation, of a range of local and international NGOs, community organizations and other members of civil society. These other organizations have worked collaboratively with a range of line government agencies such as Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Public Work and Transportation (MoPWT).
During the development of this 6NR stakeholder participation was facilitated through several training workshops and meetings. These included, training workshops in the use of the CBD online reporting tool, stakeholder’s consultation meetings to determine the status of national targets. At these meetings the stakeholders gave input and provided an evaluation of the status of implementation, existing data gaps and the validation of available spatial information. The stakeholder meetings also addressed issues such as actions to mainstream biodiversity and the effectiveness of the actions undertaken to implement the Strategic Plan and NBSAPs. To help give a richer context to the 6NR, the report also includes six case studies that give an overview of the problems facing Lao PDR in conserving biodiversity and the types of responses that have been enacted within the country. The 6NR also includes an analysis of the current status of relevant National Policies, Plans, Programmes and Project Implementation that contribute to both national and global targets.
The main body of the 6th NR consists of five main sections. Section One provides an overview of the key actions undertaken by the GoL toward implementation of CBD. This section also highlights case studies that link to the NBSAP implementation such as the Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Project (BCC) of Lao PDR, The Agrobiodiversity Initiative of Lao PDR (TABI) and Capacity Building on Biodiversity Conservation and Management in Lao PDR through the Second Lao Environment and Social Project (LENS2). Sections Two and Three deal with the implementation status and assessment of the effectiveness of implementation of the 29 national targets set in the 2nd NBSAP. Section Four is the assessment of the progress toward the ABT implementation including activities undertaken since the 5th national report and Section Five is the biodiversity country profile.
In terms of the implementation and monitoring of progress of the Lao PDR 2nd NBSAP 2016-2025, there are 29 overarching national targets spread across the 5 National Strategies.
Under those 29 targets are 69 corresponding National Actions. Of those 69 actions, the majority (38 actions) are intended to contribute to the NBSAP National Strategy 1 (Protecting the ecosystem). Eight (8) actions contribute to National Strategy 2 (Valuing biodiversity), 9 actions contribute to strategy 3 (Strengthening the knowledge base), 6 actions contributed to National Strategy 4 (Enhancing Communication and Public Awareness), and 8 actions contribute to National Strategy 5 (implementing plans projects and programs).
Overall, for each of the National Strategies there has been significant progress towards commencement or implementation of the majority of associated National Actions and it is estimated that around 58% of the actions are actively under implementation, 36% are in the planning or early implementation stage and only 6% are considered to have not started implementation. For National Strategies 1, 2 and 4 all National Actions are either actively being implemented or are in the planning stage. For Strategies 3 and 5 around 11% and 38% of the National Actions respectively are yet to have any activities towards implementation.
The progress of Lao PDR in meeting the 20 International Aichi Biodiversity Targets has been mixed. Of the 19 Targets, that are relevant to the country, six are considered to be “On Track to Meet the Target, five have made “Progress towards target but at an insufficient rate”, Six have “No significant change” and 2 are potentially getting worse or “Moving away from target”.