On August 16, the GGGI Lao PDR team in partnership with the Department of Climate Change, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) held a workshop on Readiness Support to Enhance Green Finance in the area of Green Cities at the National Convention Center, Vientiane Capital. This event included representatives of relevant government divisions as well as representatives from the five main cities of Lao PDR – Vientiane Capital City, Luang Prabang, Pakse, Kaysone Phomvihane and Thakhek.
Although a majority of Lao people still live in rural areas, this is changing quickly as people move to the cities in search of better economic opportunities. In the last 12-13 years the urban population in Lao PDR doubled. This trend towards urbanization is creating new challenges for city governments. It is currently the rainy season in Lao PDR, and flooding from heavy rains was on the minds of many of the participants as we discussed climate change issues in their cities.
The objectives of this event were to:
- Raise awareness on the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the role of the National Designated Authority (NDA); and
- Raise awareness about climate change and urban development through discussion with the stakeholders to identify climate change issues at city level.
The co-chair of the workshop, GGGI’s Dr. Jason Lee noted a number of similarities amongst the cities in terms of the challenges and opportunities they are facing. Amongst the five cities, landslides and erosion, flooding and drainage, solid waste and wastewater management, and bankability were highlighted. Although the understanding of climate change and its potential effects is quite good, there is still more to do to incorporate climate risk analysis and analysis of greenhouse gas emissions into the urban development planning process and to mobilize investments in the key priority areas. And this is where the GCF readiness project will add-value. To help the cities understand the climate risks they are facing and think about low-emission options for their future development.
Lao PDR’s vision for urban development is to build green, livable, climate resilient cities and GGGI is looking forward to working with MoNRE and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to help Lao PDR’s five biggest cities bring this vision a little closer to reality for the million so people that will live in its cities.