Organizations Discuss Sustainable Development Opportunities in Vientiane Capital

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A series of events on sustainable development took place in Vientiane Capital between 10-11 November.

The event was organized by the French Research Institute for Sustainable Development in Laos (Dr. Karine Peyronnie, Dr. Xavier Mari, and Dr. Eric Deharo, senior researchers), in collaboration with the Research Institute for Science and Innovation of the Ministry of Education and Sports (Dr. Oudomphone Insisiengmay), the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Laos(ECCIL EURO Cham) and the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF).

The event aimed to raise awareness on the issues of air pollution and to help develop education through mediation and scientific argumentation in the search for solutions. The objective was to illustrate through different activities, the work in progress, to understand, monitor, and develop technologies and approaches to overcome this major challenge, which is growing in Laos.

Funded by the French Ministry of Europe and foreign Affairs through a solidarity fund for innovative projects (FSPI), the project « One Health in practice in South-East Asia (OHSEA) » is piloted by the French Institutions such as the Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), the International Cooperation Centre in Agronomy Research and Development (CIRAD) and the national Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS).

Its goal is the understanding of the mechanisms of emergent or re-emergent diseases, in order to prevent them. OHSEA aims to promote a multidisciplinary approach of health concerns by highlighting the close links between human health, animal health and global ecology.

IRD entrusted the management of Component 1 of this project to the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) – Asia-Pacific. Under this component, 11 projects have been selected and are monitored by AUF in 3 countries: 4 projects in Cambodia; 4 in Laos and 3 in Vietnam.

The Environmental impact and Sustainable Economic Development forum and the Debate on Air Pollution and its Solutions in Laos were opened by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Phouth Simmalavong – Minister of Education and Sports, H.E Madame Siv-Leng Chhuor – Ambassador of France and Dr Valérie Verdier – President Director General of the French Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD).

The events welcomed more than 200 participants of the business community and students and featured a wide range of researchers, scientists, business leaders, EuroCham’s members, academics, from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam as speakers, panellists, moderators and participants.

This included the World Bank, EU, the Natural Resources and Environment Research Institute of the Ministry of National Resources and Environment (MoNRE), Swiss Contact, FAO, Wildlife Conservation Society, Centre for Natural Resources and Environment of Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI), National University of Laos (teachers and students from Faculty of law and Political Sciences, Faculty of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Faculty of Economics and Business Management and Faculty of Social Sciences), UNIDO, Zero Waste Laos, SilviCarbon, Burapha, Coca-Cola, Eurocham Vietnam, who contributed their experience, research, insights end best practices in their respective domain of expertise.

The Environmental impact and Sustainable Economic Development forum, presented by Thiane Khamvongsa, Executive Director of the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Laos, consisted in four panel discussions on various themes related to economic development and pollution in the region, as part of ECCIL EuroCham’s mission to encourage the business community to recognize the importance of creating harmony and balance between economic development and environmental sustainability and of integrating environmental considerations into the economic development planning process.

The Debate on Air Pollution and its Solutions in Laos ended with the exhibition “Black Carbon: the dark side of human activity” on air pollution in the ASEAN region developed in the framework of an International Research Network (IRN SOOT SEA: Impact of Black Carbon in South East Asia) and led by Dr. Xavier Mari, with the contribution of Dr. Olivier Evrard, senior researchers at IRD.

The exhibition is an overview of what is known about anthropogenic air pollution by fine particles. It presents the health, climate, environmental and socio-political issues linked to this pollution for Southeast Asia as a whole.

On 11 November subsequent trainings organized by ECCIL EuroCham welcomed over 100 participants with workshops on Practical approaches in circular economy and pollution-related policy development and implementation, a half-day training on Waste Management covering and a half day training on energy efficiency.

The specific aim for these trainings is for participants to become aware of the importance of addressing environment and climate change considerations in corporate strategies and practices as well as to realize the benefits and challenges of integrating environment and climate change in development planning and budgetary processes.