WHY working on Environmental issues in Northern Laos ?
In the Lao uplands, and for centuries, villagers rely on their environment for their livelihood. However, due to multiple factors and rapid socio-economic transitions in the area, environment issues are being more and more significant. Environmental damages have tangible impacts on communities’ livelihood and well-being.
The main environmental issues identified in Northern Laos are:
Climate change: Lao PDR is particularly vulnerable to climate change. The country was ranked was ranked as the 22nd most negatively climate-affected country of the world (GW Climate Risk Index). Since 1951, the average temperature increased almost twice quicker in Lao PDR than globally. Drought and floods are expected to increase, both in frequency and intensity, leading to more loss and damage for agriculture & infrastructure. Over 70% of the population depends on natural resources, making the country’s future development very climate sensitive.
Pesticide use: despite a strong regulation framework for pesticide use and trade, the use of pesticides has been booming in the Lao uplands in the past decade. To move out of poverty and to increase their resilience to market fluctuations, rural communities need to diversify their income generation farming activities. In the uplands of Oudomxay, agricultural diversification frequently resulted in an increase of pesticide use by farmers. Pesticide raise health issues as well as contributes to biodiversity depletion.
Plastic pollution: rural communities are consuming more and more plastics, in particular disposable plastic (bags, packages). Due to lack of knowledge and alternatives to plastic as well as no sustainable waste management solutions, most of the plastic is burnt or thrown away, leading to long-term pollution of the soil, air, and water. These pollution impact human, animal and environmental health.
What Do We Do?
Awareness raising on climate change impacts,
Support to the development of more climate resilient farming systems,
Implementation of an overall approach to address pesticide issues, combining awareness raising, support to organic farming, governance strengthening and advocacy,
Work with model families and communities to reduce rural plastic consumption.
For Which Results?
Since 2015, across CCL projects: