The delegation of the European Union to Lao PDR (EU) and the French Development Agency (AFD) made a courtesy visit to Savannakhet Province on 26 to 27 July to observe the work achieved under the project “Environment Conservation through Integrated Land management in Lao PDR”, co-funded by the EU and AFD.
Ms. Cecile Leroy, EU Programme Manager, expressed sincere gratitude toward Mr.Khamseng Sorpabmixay, Deputy Director of Savannakhet Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (PAFO), Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, representing the Project Implementation Management Committee for the WCS-MAF Xe Champhone Ramsar Wetlands Program, for his constant support and dedication to the project, including his team.
Ms. Cecile Leroy also raised the significance of the integrated landscape management (ILM), which is an approach undertaken by the project, saying that it is “a promising approach to managing competing land use pressures and the fragmented policy space in many countries, including Lao PDR.”
“Premised on principles of participation, cooperation and community empowerment, ILM offers a compelling framework for linking agricultural practices, institutions and policies with other landscape-scale activities; ensures food and nutrition security, job creation and resilient and sustainable agriculture; contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation; and warrants biodiversity and land/forest ecosystems conservation, restoration and sustainable use,” she added.
ILM is integral to the European Union’s (EU) ambitious post-2020 biodiversity and food systems agendas and its commitment to the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. ILM approaches furthermore facilitate an inclusive green recovery consistent with the EU Green Deal.
Ms. Manoly Sisavanh, Deputy Director of WCS to Lao PDR, noted that the Xe Champhone Ramsar Wetlands Complex (XCP RWC) presents many challenges for the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable management of natural resources.
This landscape is wholly outside the national protected area (NPA) governance framework and its protection therefore requires a different approach. Because of this, WCS builds on existing methods used in forest-dependent communities to develop a land and resource-planning framework adapted to the unique needs of the landscape’s seasonal shifts in water levels.
Ms. Lisa Mengual, Agriculture and Biodiversity AFD Project Officer, appreciated the EU efforts for more resources specifically earmarked for supporting activities in Xe Champhone wetland, as well as for supporting national policy development to ensure a better protection of this unique landscape and biodiversity.
During the field visit, Mr. Khamseng Sorpabmixay thanked the Delegation and ECILL project for the in-kind motorbikes donated to Savannakhet PAFO. This will help the PAFO team to regularly reach out to the local communities for regular consultation, coordination, and monitoring.
In Lao PDR, ECILL project is implemented in three landscapes: Nam Et – Phou Louey National Park, Bolikhamxay Protected Area Landscapes and the Xe Champhone Ramsar Wetland Complex in Savannakhet Province.
The EU-funded “Landscapes For Our Future” programme is supporting 22 similar Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) projects across 19 countries and 3 sub-regions throughout the Global South, in Southeast Asia, Africa and South America to build knowledge and share best practices for a sustainable long term development.