Tag Archives: xayaboury

Lumberings & Longings: Trials, Tales As Domesticated Elephants, Handlers Adjust to A New Era in Laos

Laos Mahout

Like wildlife in biological hotspots worldwide, Laos’ wild and domesticated elephants alike are facing a time of rapid and significant change, amid increased man-made developments and a fast-changing natural and socio-economic environment, Laotian Times writes.

Climate Change: Taming the Waters in Laos’ Xayaboury Province

Villages work with UNDP in Xayaboury for the SDGs on Hunger and Climate Change

Helping farmers in their efforts to adjust to climate change in Laos’ Xayaboury Province alongside Lao government partners, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was active back in 2015. Now, almost four years later, a return to one of the villages revealed how they have managed to cope with changing weather conditions.

 

The UNDP writes:

Vientiane –
The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the global community in 2015,  compels us at UNDP Lao PDR to take even more responsibility to ensure that our projects do not only offer a temporary sigh of relief to struggling communities in Lao PDR, but that they serve as an enduring foundation on which they can begin to build a more sustainable future for themselves.

That is why in February 2019, UNDP, along with members of the Green Climate Fund and representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, took a trip to Nasom Village in Xayaboury Province to catch up with some old friends made during a project entitled “Improving the Resilience of the Agricultural Sector to Climate Change”, which was implemented between 2011-2015.

In the early 2000s, the farming population of Nasom had difficulties in adjusting to a phenomenon most of them had probably never even heard of: climate change. Although the small village nestled in a modest valley between the lush hillsides of northern Laos had occasionally suffered from floods, the usual predictability of seasons had become a thing of the past.

While the rainy seasons seemed to gradually get more intense, the dry seasons were getting hotter and drier, barely offering a shower for the rice fields of the village, which resulted in bad harvests. As rice was the primary ingredient of the rather stoic daily diet of the villagers, a bad harvest often marked a serious menace of malnutrition. Even if the farmers could feed themselves with stocks in case of a bad harvest, not being able to sell any surplus at the local market meant a significant dip in their yearly incomes.

Either too much or too little water for irrigating the paddy fields was the biggest challenge for the villagers. The project, implemented by UNDP, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, wanted to devise a way in which they could manage and utilize the dramatically varying rates of rainfall as efficiently as possible.

The project laid out a plan to dig numerous reservoirs in the village in which the rain could be stored throughout the year. Irrigation canals were built through which the villagers could regulate the flow of the standing water to their paddy fields during different seasons.

The ponds were filled with fish to give villagers an additional source of protein. As fish like to indulge in the mosquito larvae that breed particularly in standing waters, they would also protect the villagers from the deathly threat of malaria.

When the project ended in 2014, the results were fantastic. Villagers no longer went hungry and they could once again plan their harvests despite the changing weather patterns. However, it is not uncommon in development work that such achievements slowly fade away as years pass by and the community’s lack of resources or expertise for maintenance take a toll them.

In this case, the concern proved unfounded. Even after four years, the ponds were filled with water, teeming with fish. Even the devastating floods of 2018 that ravaged each province of Lao PDR had not caused the reservoirs to overflow.

“After the project, we have lived much better. Because we have enough water to irrigate the rice fields, we are producing much more food than before”, says Mr. Khamsao, one of the beneficiaries of the project as he takes us around the reservoirs.

The successful project had created further waves in the village: Some villagers had dug their own reservoirs, carved their own irrigation canals and also filled them with fish. In the spirit of true Lao solidarity, the farmers who had originally benefited from the project had allowed others to direct water from the big reservoirs to newly constructed smaller. This water could then be used to irrigate other farm areas. As with the original project, the results had been excellent.

This kind of creative and cooperative spirit is exactly what is needed to achieve the ambitious goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda. Villagers of Nasom show that innovation not only occurs in Silicon Valley or world-class universities but is something that even deprived communities engage in, as long as they are given the opportunity to do so.


United Nations Development Group

The Laotian Times reports on and supports efforts to address climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Laos and beyond.

Villages work with UNDP in Xayaboury for the SDGs on Hunger and Climate Change

Villages work with UNDP in Xayaboury for the SDGs on Hunger and Climate Change

 

Largest Forest in Xayaboury to be Opened as Tourist Attraction

Forest in Xayaboury

Hoping to draw more people to experience its natural beauty and establish its profile as a tourist destination, Xayaboury Province is opening up its largest forest as one of its visitor attractions.

An official has confirmed that provincial authorities surveyed the forest in Phieng District, which is 80 km from the provincial capital. After surveying the trees and the surrounding area, provincial authorities considered various ways  on how they could develop the forest into a tourist attraction and open it up to the public.

The director of the province’s Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Mr Chanthi Simanichan, has stated

that the biggest trees in Phieng district are maitaekha (Sindora cochinchinensis) and can grow up to an impressive 15 metres in width and more than 10 metres in height. The maitaekha are hundreds of years old and are highly valued for their solid wood.

The area will be of interest to those with an interest in nature and those who can appreciate the preservation of the towering trees surrounding them . There is potential for a variety of outdoor activities for visitors who enjoy the great outdoors, as well as for individuals wanting to study tree species in Laos.

Apart from observing the massive trees and the serenity of nature, there are fascinating caves waiting to be explored, including the beautiful Lobphai Cave.

There are many officially designated tourist sites in Xayaboury Province but due poor road access, reaching tourist sites is difficult and dangerous, particularly during the wet season.

However, provincial authorities plan to build a road to the forest in an effort to bring development to impoverished Phieng District. Mr Chanthi stressed that it is essential to build roads to make more of the sites accessible.

Due to poor road conditions, Mr Chanti urges anyone who is looking to visit the forest to plan ahead and contact the Phieng District Information, Culture and Tourism Office to find out current road hazards.

“The provincial authorities plan to build a dirt road to the forest because there is no road access at present,” Mr Chanthi has stated. “Construction will start this year and then district authorities will officially open the forest area as a new tourist site. Locals and foreigners can visit at any time, but don’t forget to contact the Phieng district Information, Culture and Tourism Office so that officials can provide help”.

Photo: TreetopLaos

Xayaboury Prepares for Annual Elephant Festival

Almost 70 elephants will feature in Xayaboury’s annual elephant festival from February 13-19, aiming to promote the province’s colourful culture and local livelihoods.

The aim of the festival is preserve the culture and livelihoods of Lao people who work with elephants. Elephants are a longstanding part of the nation’s history and have been an integral part of Lao life since ancient times.

Deputy Governor of the province, Mr Yanyong Sipaseuth, who also is a member of the event organising committee told media recently the 11th elephant festival will take place from February 13 to 19 at Xayaboury district stadium with the official opening being held on February 17.

Every year, provincial authorities plan many activities to celebrate the festival and this coming February 68 elephants will take part in events such as a grand parade, a baci ceremony, and even a beauty contest. The animals will also demonstrate their skills and the close relationship they have with their mahouts.

Visitors can take a ride on an elephant and watch them being bathed in the river.

In the evening there will be a vibrant street market featuring local products and goods from neighbouring countries.

The festival will spotlight the past and present role that elephants play in Laos, and their importance in Lao history and lifestyle.

It also highlights the plight of these endangered animals, whose numbers are dwindling fast.

Currently, elephant owners are being encouraged to care for their animals so that they are not overworked and can reproduce. Their former role as the mighty haulers of massive tree trunks through forests is becoming a thing of the past and instead they are living an easier life in the tourism industry.

The first elephant festival was held in 2007 in Hongsa district, when it was organised by the conservation group ElefantAsia.

It was subsequently held in Paklai district and then in Xayaboury district, which has hosted the event since 2012.

Source: Vientiane Times

Xayaboury Vocational School Initiates Solar Power Engineering Course

A solar power system engineering class is being trialled at Xayaboury Technical and Vocational School with a view to it becoming a regular subject, according to a press release from the Energy and Climate Policy Institute (ECPI Korea).

The Director of the province’s statistics planning division education office and the Dean of the school’s Electricity Department suggested opening a renewable energy education track, a press release noted.

Next year it will be a regular electricity subject at the school, said the Director of the Renewable Energy Centre, Ms Yee Young Ran.

Regular teaching of the subject would enable the sustainable learning of solar power systems which it is hoped would become self-sufficient after outside support dries up. If trained students can be responsible for installing, repairing, consulting, and teaching renewable energy, it will be a suitable long-term initiative.

The Lao Renewable Energy Centre delivered a solar power system engineering course recently at Xayaboury Technical and Vocational School. It was part of the preparation process for one of the elective courses ‘renewable energy controlling skills’ in the school’s electricity department.

The centre is attached to the Energy and Climate Policy Institute for Just Transition (ECPI), an NGO based in the Republic of Korea.

ECPI has been supporting the teaching of solar power systems at the school in Xayaboury since 2009 under the ‘Supporting Renewable Energy System and Training Programme’.

After many years of effort, graduates of the training programme are skilled in solar power system engineering and teaching and can train junior students at the school as main agents in this programme, the press release noted.

The ECPI has continued to implement the Supporting Renewable Energy System and Training Programme’ in Laos through solidarity with the Third World and also through the practical activity of climate justice since 2009.These activities were reinforced in 2012 when KOICA supported the ECPI project.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

Xayaboury Exports Decline by over 40 Percent

Exports from Xayaboury province for the first nine months of this calendar year have dropped by 43 percent compared to last year, according to local authorities.

School Burns in Xayaboury

A primary School building in Kaengsao village, Paklai district of Xayaboury province, caught fire on Wednesday night after a suspected electrical short circuit, resulting in damages of over 500 million kip.

Xayaboury Refuses Entry to Motorcycle Groups

Caravans for bicycles and motorbikes are now prohibited from entry at all border checkpoints between Laos and Thailand in Xayaboury province.