Vientiane, 6 March 2017-- Approximately 47,000 people in 189 settlements in three southern provinces of Attapeu, Saravan and Sekong will soon have access to better climate resilient infrastructure when the just launched climate change project rolls out community-level implementation. The project with a total budget of USD 4.5 million will build capacity at national and sub-national levels to tackle climate change challenges. The project will conduct vulnerability assessments of the communities, develop community action plans, construct climate change resilient infrastructure and document good practices.

An inception meeting organized in February on ‘Enhancing the climate and disaster resilience of the most vulnerable rural and emerging urban human settlements in Laos’, in Vientiane. The project is to be implemented by UN-Habitat and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the three provincial authorities.

The project aims to help people to build resilience of vulnerable communities affected by climate change, by providing them with small scale infrastructure and services that they can rely on despite the impacts of climate change emphasizing resilience to storms, floods, droughts, landslides and disease outbreaks.

Speaking at the meeting, the Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transports, Ms. Vilaykham Phosalath, stated that the project will help people improve their livelihoods and improve their access to basic services:

“If people in the villages use unsafe water every day, it means that they will lead to an increased risk of disease. Safe and adequate access of water is a very important aspect of public health, especially for women in target villages,” she said.

Besides the Minister of Public Works and Transport and UN-Habitat, the meeting was attended by several line Ministries, provincial and district authorities as well as national and international agencies.

Mr Phomma Veoravanh, Director General, Water Supply Department highlighted the importance of this project, especially in building capacities vis-à-vis climate change resilience at the provincial, district and village levels. Mr. Bernhard Barth from UN-Habitat highlighted that this project represented the first partnership with the Climate Change Adaptation Fund and that the project was strongly anchored in the 8th National Socio Economic Development Plan, supported numerous targets of the Sustainable Development Goals as well as the New Urban Agenda.