UK Climate Change Ambassador to Asia-Pacific and South Asia Visits Laos

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Ken O’Flaherty, the UK’s Regional Climate Change Ambassador (left) and Mr. Sinava Souphanouvong, Vice Minister of Energy and Mines (right).

UK Climate Change Ambassador to Asia-Pacific and South Asia, Ken O’Flaherty visited Laos last week and had a series of meetings with Lao government officials and local stakeholders and partners to discuss sustainability and how the UK can help support Laos meet its commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050.

The British Embassy Vientiane welcomed its Regional Climate Change Ambassador, Ken O’Flaherty to Laos by holding a reception for him at the British Ambassador’s Residence in the end of last month.

Mr. Ken O’Flaherty, Regional Climate Change Ambassador was appointed by the UK Foreign Secretary to work with the UK COP26 Unit and stakeholders to help deliver the COP26 outcomes and the Glasgow Climate Pact at the local and regional levels.

During his visit, Mr. Ken O’Flaherty met with Mr. Bounkham Vorachit, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, thanked the Lao government for its enthusiastic participation in the COP26 Conference and congratulated Laos on its plan for zero-emissions by 2050.

Mr. John Pearson, the British Ambassador to Laos (third left) and Ken O’Flaherty, the UK’s Regional Climate Change Ambassador (fourth left) met with Mrs. Bounkham Vorachith and senior officials at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

A discussion with the Minister covered the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), the Long Term Climate Strategy (LTS), and the No New Coal Compact.

At COP26 Conference in 2021, all UN parties agreed to coal phase down and 11 UN members signed the UN No New Coal Compact.

The Climate Change Ambassador handed a signed letter from COP26 President Alok Sharma to the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment to request the Lao government support the UN No New Coal Compact at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly.

Mr. Ken O’Flaherty also had discussions on clean energy and electric mobility transition in Laos with senior government officials. In the meeting with Mr. Sinava Souphanouvong, Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines, he discussed the energy transition from coal power to clean and renewable energy power in Laos.

During the meeting with Mr. Ngampasong Muongmany, Vice Minister of Public Works and Transport, both sides exchanged views on Laos’s electric mobility transition plan, Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV) and green finance investment in Laos.

UK is providing support for electricity and renewable energy transitions through the Energy Transition Council. Currently Climate Compatible Growth are conducting a feasibility study on the potential for renewable energy in Laos, National Grid are advising on how to improve the electricity transmission grid, and Ernst and Young are advising on green finance investment.

The Climate Change Ambassador also met with Mr. Thongphath Vongmany, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Forestry to discuss agriculture, forest and land use sectors, and how the UK can support the Lao government to achieve net-zero carbon emissions from these sectors.

Representatives from organizations working on climate change and sustainable development gathered at the British Ambassador’s Residence for a roundtable discussion.

On the last day of his visit, Mr. Ken O’Flaherty hosted a roundtable discussion with NGOs and multilateral organizations working on climate change and sustainable development.