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Monday, July 15, 2024

WCS, Ministry Plan to Further Strengthen Protection of Xe Champhone Wetlands

This Week

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment organized a meeting earlier this month to strengthen wildlife protection in the areas of Xe Champhone Wetlands in Savannakhet.

During the meeting, the Department of Water Resources, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment reported on the steps to create the management plan and presented the draft Xe Champhone Ramsar Management Plan and the draft decree on wetlands. 

The Xe Champhone Ramsar Management Plan was developed with the aim of strengthening the understanding and mutual agreement between those involved in the wetland management, creating an integrated framework for the management and development of the wetlands, and improving the quality of the community’s livelihood while ensuring the richness of the ecological system of wetlands in accordance with the national and local economic development plan and the Ramsar Convention.

WCS presented the Xe Champhone Ramsar boundary extension proposed plan. Representatives from the relevant parties emphasized the importance of boundary marking being made a priority and the need to raise public awareness to recognize the significance of the Ramsar wetlands area. 

Xe Champhone Wetlands, located in Savannakhet Province, is the largest of Laos’ two Ramsar sites and contains core habitats of critically endangered Siamese Crocodile, freshwater turtles and tortoises, wetland birds, and other plant and aquatic species which led to the site being declared a “Wetland of International Importance” under the Ramsar Convention.

Key protection issues were also addressed including the delineation of control use zone versus total protection zone, monitoring the quality and quantity of water; detailed plan to improve the community’s livelihoods, with a particular focus on land use plan in order to prevent encroachment in Xe Champhone Wetlands and the amount of water in the basin area of Xe Champhone Wetlands.

WCS staff from Savannakhet Landscape Program led a team from the Department of Water Resources, MONRE; PoNRE, and DoNRE to visit the Xe Champhone Ramsar Wetlands and Siamese crocodile head-starting facility at Ban Tansoum, Champhone district.

WCS’s Laos Program together with the Provincial of Agriculture and Forestry, the Provincial of Natural Resources and Environment, and local administration authorities, designed and implemented the Community-based Crocodile Recovery and Livelihood Improvement Project, whose goal is the recovery of the local Siamese crocodile population and restoration of associated wetlands, linked by socio-economic incentives that improve local livelihoods. 

This project was made possible through funding by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the European Union (EU) Ecosystem Conservation through Integrated Landscape Management in Lao PDR “ECILL” Project.

The ECILL program is a partnership between Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the European Union (EU), and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in joint efforts with the Lao government and local communities to protect the Laos’ unique biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources.

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