Climate Adaptation in Wetlands Areas

Wetland Ecosystem services in wetland Photo: @ Amy Scott/IUCN

Project Title: Climate Adaptation in Wetlands Areas

Location: Xe Champhone (XCP) Wetland, Savannakhet Province and Beung Kiat Ngong (BKN) Wetland, Champasak Province, Lao PDR

Duration: 2016-2020

Project Background: The GEF Chief Executive Officer endorsed a Full-Size Project (FSP) on “Climate Adaptation in Wetlands Areas (CAWA) in Lao PDR”, with FAO as the Executing Agency and the Executing Partners being the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) of Lao PDR and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The CAWA  project focuses on two wetland areas in Lao PDR. These two areas are the country’s two declared Ramsar sites: XCP Wetland in Savannakhet province and BKN Wetland in Champasak province. The XCP site currently covers 12,400 hectares (ha) of land, with 7,000 people dependent on the wetland. The BKN site covers 2,360 ha of land, with 11,500 people dependent.In the two sites, around 18,500 members of poor, rural communities depend heavily on the wetlands and are directly involved in their management, and a further 42,000 inhabitants depend on the goods and services that the wetlands provide. These people are highly exposed and vulnerable to climate change impacts, such as increasing temperatures, drought, and the higher incidents and intensity of storms. Climate change vulnerability is further increased by the low adaptive capacity of the wetlands and their communities.

The main project components include: i) Improvement of knowledge and understanding of Climate Change (CC) impacts and risks, ii) Implementation of appropriate CC adaptation and risk reduction measures, and iii) Integration of tested and cost-effective CC adaptation and disaster management measures into critical planning processes at local and national levels.

The project will help local communities in two important wetland areas of Lao PDR adapt to the impacts of climate change, and contribute to the sustainability of their livelihoods, by supporting the restoration and sustainable management of the globally important Ramsar-designated wetlands on which they depend. The project will use an ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) approach, whereby the ability of the wetlands to buffer local peoples’ livelihoods against CC impacts will be safeguarded through a combination of improved planning and governance conditions, direct investments in climate change adaptation (CCA) measures and livelihoods strengthening, and support to CC resilient forms of sustainable use, with a strong focus on creating lasting capacities among national stakeholders at all levels to sustain and replicate these benefits. These activities will be supported and oriented through investments in knowledge generation regarding the vulnerability of local communities to disasters and CC, the importance of wetlands for CCA, and options for their sustainable and resilient management. Lessons learned in these two wetlands regarding community-based vulnerability risk assessment and strategies for CCA, based on principles of EBA and sustainable use, will be replicable elsewhere in Lao PDR, the greater Mekong region and beyond.

IUCN contributes to this project by providing national experts or consultants who will be responsible for completing the tasks under the Letter of Agreement (LoA) between FAO and IUCN.


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