In the Media
Workshop to revise the forestry legal framework to enable REDD+ in Lao PDR
August 24, 2011
Forest Carbon Asia
The Department of Forestry (DoF), Lao PDR conducted a first national information-sharing and consultation workshop in Vientiane on August 23, 2011 to start the process for revising the forestry legal framework in Lao PDR. They were supported in this effort by the bilateral and multilateral programs CliPAD, SUFORD and FSCAP, and the NGO WCS.Dr. Silavanh Sawathvong, Director General of DoF chaired the workshop and explained the background behind the revision process. Revision of the Forestry Law is called for by the National Assembly and is in the current five year plan of the Assembly.
Workshop participants included representatives of the National Assembly, different forestry divisions, land management, finance, mining and other government agencies. Also present were representatives of NGOs, bilateral and multilateral institutions and programs, and the private sector.
One of the primary objectives for the amendment of the forestry legislation starting with the Forestry Law is to facilitate implementation of REDD+ in Laos. Organisers and participants to the workshop acknowledged that there were other issues that would also need to be addressed in a revision of the forestry law such as new institutional arrangements following the ongoing government restructuring process.
Mr. Oupakone Alounsavath, Director of the Planning Division, DoF, presented the current status of Laos’ REDD readiness preparations. Subsequent presentations and working group discussions focused on legal provisions and clarifications REDD+ requires and gaps in the Forestry Law that should be filled.
Participants identified tenure over the carbon and other resources as a key issue that needed to be addressed in all types of forest lands. Also clarification was required on scope and institutional arrangements for non-government actors such as communities, the private sector and NGOs to engage in REDD+ implementation on lands allocated to them and on government-administered forest areas. Ms. Khamla Phonsavath from the World Bank emphasized that environmental and social safeguards and ESIA requirements need to be incorporated and put in place.
Participants also discussed the legal revision process and room for enhanced stakeholder participation. They further identified extra-sectoral laws that would need reconciliation with an amended Forestry Law.
Mr. Khamphay Manivong, Deputy Director General of DoF, concluded that the workshop had raised important issues that need to be discussed further and clarified as legal expressions. These included forest definitions, land use rights, forest category classification and benefit-sharing among others. If participants had more comments, they were welcome to send it to DoF in writing later. There would still be occasion in the future to exchange ideas and opinions to ensure an appropriate legal framework for REDD+ implementation in Lao PDR.
Keywords: Asia, deforestation, Forest, forest policy, Lao, Lao PDR, REDD