Lao PDR REDD+ Readiness

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  • IGES

    Discussion Paper

    No. FC-2012-05

    Lao PDR REDD+ Readiness

    - State of Play December



    Discussion Paper

    No. FC-2012-05

  • IGES

    Discussion Paper

    No. FC-2012-05

    Lao PDR REDD+ Readiness

    - State of Play December



    Discussion Paper

    No. FC-2012-05

  • LaoPDRREDD+Readiness:StateofPlayJanuary2013iv

    Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) Forest Conservation Project 2108-11 Kamiyamaguchi, Hayama, Kanagawa 240-0115 Japan Phone: +81-46-855-3830 Facsimile: +81-46-855-3809 E-mail:

    Copyright 2012 by Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan

    All rights reserved. Inquiries regarding this publication copyright should be addressed to IGES in writing. No parts of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior permission in writing from IGES.

    Although every effort is made to ensure objectivity and balance, the printing of a paper or translation does not imply IGES endorsement or acquiescence with its conclusions or the endorsement of IGES financers. IGES maintains a position of neutrality at all times on issues concerning public policy. Hence conclusions that are reached in IGES publica-tions should be understood to be those of authors and not attributed to staff-members, officers, directors, trustees, funders, or to IGES itself.

    The aim of the IGES Forest Conservation Team is, through strategic research, capacity building and outreach, to contribute to the development of policies and instruments for the sustainable management and use of forest resources. IGES discussion papers are prepared for timely delivery to facilitate substantive discussion among policy makers and research communities.

    Author: Taiji Fujisaki

    Cover photos: Main: Girl carrying firewood, Luang Prabang Province; Others: SUFORD site, Lao PDR. Kimihiko Hyakumura

  • LaoPDRREDD+Readiness:StateofPlayJanuary2013v

    With the understanding that deforestation contributes to about 20 per cent of global an-thropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, Parties to the United Nations Framework Conven-tion on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have been attempting to reach agreement on how de-veloping countries can be supported and rewarded for protecting and enhancing the car-bon stocks in their standing forests a concept known as REDD+. For international nego-tiators to reach agreement on a global REDD+ mechanism presents but one challenge; one that is proving a slow and difficult process. Countries preparing to participate in REDD+ are faced with many others. Where deforestation rates have been persistently high over many years and where forest management policies have largely been ineffec-tive at a national scale, reforming governance structures, regulatory controls and incen-tive systems to protect forest carbon stocks, including in a manner that is socially ac-ceptable (i.e. acceptable to all major forest stakeholders), will not be easy. The global REDD+ mechanism will also require participating countries to project future forest car-bon stock changes under a business-as-usual scenario, to monitor and report actual for-est carbon stock changes, and to attribute these changes to drivers. As developing coun-tries mostly have incomplete and inconsistent forest datasets, and as some have never conducted a proper forest inventory, this presents another set of difficult challenges.

    The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) is monitoring the development of national REDD+ systems in selected key REDD+ countries in the Asia-Pacific region. This work is generally based upon outputs produced through a REDD+-related project funded by the Ministry of Environment, Japan.

    This report presents the results of a study on REDD+ readiness in Lao PDR, a country with forests of immense importance to its people and the globe, and one that has drawn at-tention from the international community for its REDD+ movement. I would like to con-gratulate the author and the Forest Conservation Team for succeeding in bringing togeth-er this report, which I anticipate will be useful to people working on REDD+ issues from local to international levels.

    Hideyuki Mori

    IGES President

    December 2012


  • LaoPDRREDD+Readiness:StateofPlayJanuary2013vi

    The author is grateful to a number of people who kindly shared information for this re-port, including Ms. Majella Clarke (SUFORD), Mr. Khamsene Ounkham (Department of Forestry / Lao PDR), Mr. Linthong Khamdy (Forest Inventory and Planning Division / Lao PDR), Mr. Somchay Sanonty (Forest Inventory and Planning Division / Lao PDR), Mr. Ga-briel Eickhoff (CliPAD), Mr. Colin Moore (WCS), Mr. Anouxay Phommalath (SNV) and Dr. Kimihiko Hyakumura (Kyushu University). At IGES, Dr. Henry Scheyvens and Dr. Enrique Ibarra Gene, kindly provided their thoughts on an early draft of the report. Any omissions and errors are entirely the responsibility of the author.


  • LaoPDRREDD+Readiness:StateofPlayJanuary2013vii

    Acronyms and Abbreviations ASEAN Association of South East Asia Nations

    CCBA Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance

    CIFOR Center for International Forestry Research

    CliPAD Climate Protection through Avoided Deforestation

    COP Conference of the Parties

    m3 cubic metre

    DAFO District Agriculture and Forestry Office

    DBH Diameter at Breast Height

    DFRM Department of Forest Resource Management

    DDG Deputy Director General

    DG Director General

    DOF Department of Forestry

    DOFI Department of Forest Inspection

    EIA Environmental Investigation Agency

    ESMF Environmental and Social Management Framework

    FAO Food and Agriculture Organization (of the United Nations)

    FCPF Forest Carbon Partnership Facility

    FFPRI Forest and Forest Products Research Institute

    FIM Forest Information Management

    FIP Forest Investment Programme

    FIPD Forest inventory and Planning Division

    FPIC free prior informed consent

    FPP Forest Preservation Programme

    FRDF Forest Resource Development Fund

    FS 2020 Forestry Strategy 2020

    FSC Forest Stewardship Council

    FSIP Forestry Strategy 2020 Implementation Promotion

    GDP Gross Domestic Product

    GHG Greenhouse gas

    GIZ Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Agency

    for International Cooperation)

    GOL Government of Lao PDR

  • LaoPDRREDD+Readiness:StateofPlayJanuary2013viii

    ha hectare

    IGES Institute for Global Environmental Strategies

    IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

    IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature

    JICA Japan International Cooperation Agency

    JNR Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+

    JPY Japanese Yen

    kfW Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (German Development Bank)

    Lao PDR Lao People's Democratic Republic

    LEAF Lowering Emissions from Asia's Forests

    LFNC Lao Front for National Construction

    LUP-LA Land Use Planning and Land Allocation

    MAF Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

    MEM Ministry of Energy and Mines

    MOF Ministry of Finance

    MONRE Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment

    MPI Ministry of Planning and Investment

    MRV Monitoring, Reporting and Verification

    MWBP Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Pro-


    NAFES National Agriculture and Forestry Extension Service

    NAFRI National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute

    NCCO National Climate Change Office

    N.D. not dated

    NEC National Environment Committee

    NFI National Forest Inventory

    NFMS National Forest Monitoring System

    NGOs Non Government Organization

    NLMA National Land Management Authority

    NPA National Protected Area

    NSAP National Strategy and Action Plan on Climate Change

    NSCCC National Steering Committee on Climate Change

    NUOL National University of Laos

    NWFPs Non-Wood forest products

  • LaoPDRREDD+Readiness:StateofPlayJanuary2013ix

    ODA Official Development Assistance

    PAFO Provincial Agriculture and Forest Office

    PAREED Participatory Land and Forest Management Project

    PLUP Participatory Land-use Planning

    PSS Profit Sharing System

    RECOFTC Center for People and Forests

    REDD Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation


    Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and the role

    of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of

    forest carbon stocks

    REL Reference Emissions Level

    RL Reference Level

    R-PIN Readiness Programme Idea Note

    R-PP Readiness Preparation Proposal

    RRI Rights and Resources initiative

    RS Remote Sensing

    SESA Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment

    SFM Sustainable Forest Management

    SIDA Swedish International Development Agency

    SMSA Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment

    SNC Second National Communication

    SNV Netherland Development Organisation

    SPC Stakeholder Participation and Consultation

    SPCP Stakeholder Participation and Consultation Plan

    SUFORD Sustainable Forestry and Rural Development

    tCO2 Tonnes of carbon dioxide

    TFAP Tropical Forest Action Plan

    TORs Terms of References

    TWGs Technical Working Groups

    UNDP United Nations Development Programme

    UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

    USAID United States Agency for International Development

    USD United States Dollar

    WCS World Conservation Society

  • LaoPDRREDD+Readiness:StateofPlayJanuary2013x

    WREA Water Resources and Environmental Administration

    WRI World Resource Institute

    WWF World Wide Fund for Nature

  • LaoPDRREDD+Readiness:StateofPlayJanuary2013xi

    Since the early 1990s, forest management in Lao PDR has shifted towards the conserva-tion of forests, improvement of logging practice and forest rehabilitation. This shift is supported by policies / programmes on forest categorisation and demarcation, law en-forcement and governance, sustainable forest management and forest regeneration and reforestation. However, forest boundaries and management plans have not yet been fully defined. In addition, the customary forest users and local communities are often in a weak position, with no enforceable rights over the forests they manage.

    The REDD+ concept is highly relevant to Lao PDR, which has a large per capita forest area, with relatively high per capita deforestation and forest degradation. Given the fact that annual emissions from deforestation and forest degradation are estimated to account for 72% of the countrys total emissions, REDD+ could provide significant oppor-tunities to protect ecosystem services and increase the revenues from the forest sector.

    Since 2007, Lao PDR has made efforts to develop its national REDD+ system. This in-cludes submission of the R-PIN (2008) and the R-PP (2010) to the World Banks FCPF. However, overall REDD+ readiness is still at an early stage. Outstanding challenges in-clude formulation of the national REDD+ strategy, development of institutional arrange-ments, as well establishment of REL / RL, MRV and the safeguards monitoring system. Also there is an urgent need to establish a legal basis for REDD+ implementation. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has started to revise the forestry legal framework to address issues of forest tenure and forest carbon rights / carbon use rights.

    The organisational framework for REDD+ readiness has evolved and national ownership of the REDD+ readiness progress appears to have grown. The multi-sectoral REDD+ Task Force was reformed in 2011 and now includes more state ministries and Lao civil socie-ty organizations. The REDD+ Office was set up within the Department of Forestry to support the Task Force and manage day-to-day REDD+ activities. However, the idea of REDD+ is new in Lao PDR, and the government is still moving towards the necessary multi-sectoral approach for REDD+ to have an impact on forest management and use. The administrative capacity of the organisational framework needs to be further devel-oped to be in accordance with existing national and sub-national institutions and struc-tures.

    While the government has tried to strengthen national ownership of REDD+ readiness, REDD+ readiness still relies largely on bilateral and multilateral support at both national and sub-national levels. Key support from donors include the World Banks FCPF and Forest Investment Programme (FIP), CliPAD (GIZ-KfW), FSCAP (JICA, SIDA), PAREED (JICA), FIM (Japan) and SUFORD (Finland, World Bank). Given this variety of support, the government has an important role to play in ensuring coordination between donor activities and programmes in accordance with the governments policy and its involve-ment in the FCPF process.

    Executive Summary

  • LaoPDRREDD+Readiness:StateofPlayJanuary2013xii

    While the National Forest Inventory (NFI) was conducted during the 1990s, building the National Forest Monitoring System for REDD+ requires substantial additional efforts. Dis-cussions are currently underway between FIPD/MAF and donor agencies on how to design the biomass database, including the platform, data input procedures, data backup and maintenance, as well as stratification under the Forest Information Management (FIM) programme.

    The REDD+ safeguards are highly relevant to Lao PDR, but the safeguard information sys-tem is still to be put in place. As a member of the FCPF and FIP, the country needs to comply with the World Banks safeguards policies and the government is committed to developing social, environmental and government safeguards for REDD+ implementation. At site level, various donor led projects have applied their own standards / criteria. FPIC also has been implemented in several villages at CliPAD and SURFORD sites. Experience and lessons learnt from these activities should be shared systematically, including within the government.

    At the sub-national level, several REDD+ demonstration activities and feasible studies are being planned and/or implemented by donors and NGOs. REDD+ demonstration activ-ities cover different forest types, including production forest (SURFORD), protected are-as (CliPAD) and village forests (PAREED), and they apply different approaches to tackling deforestation, and different standards for addressing forest carbon monitoring and safe-guards. There is no guideline or formal procedure to prepare and implement REDD+ pro-jects. To support implementation of REDD+ demonstration activities and draw useful les-sons from them, the government should establish a national guideline and formal ap-proval process, as well as coordinate the REDD+ projects under the REDD+ Task Force.

  • LaoPDRREDD+Readiness:StateofPlayJanuary2013xiii

    Table of Contents


    AcronymsandAbbrevia ons........................................................................


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