On 28 and29 May, and 9 and10 August, IUCN Lao PDR facilitated trainings in the Xe Champhone Ramsar Site in Savannakhet Province and Bueng Kiat Ngong (BKN) Ramsar Site in Champasak Province, respectively. The aim of the trainings was to educate local government staff and communities in planning for climate change adaptation through ecosystem-based solutions.
The participants of these trainings included community representatives, Central, Provincial and District government staff, and academic professionals. Community representatives from 16 villages participated in the Xe Champhone training and community representatives from 8 villages participated in the BKN training. The objective of the trainings was to convert the findings of the recent Xe Champhone and BKN climate change vulnerability assessments into actionable strategies and sustainable investments that can be incorporated into future planning processes.
The participants from the two Ramsar sites prioritised a number of strategies for climate change adaptation. They would like to see improvements in fisheries management, management of water shortages in the dry season and improved water quality, control and utilisation of invasive species, and the development of ecotourism and sustainable agriculture to increase alternative income sources and reduce pressure on wetland resources.
The participants of the Xe Champhone session also prioritised managing soil erosion, protecting natural resources and conserving habitats and species. In BKN, participants would like to see the restoration of degraded habitats and community-based water management.
Oudomxay Thongsavath, Deputy Coordinator of the IUCN Lao PDR Water and Wetlands Programme, said: “This training is a good opportunity for relevant parties to come together and deliberate over what climate change adaption actions they can take for the Ramsar sites that are most important for local communities, while still considering long-term wise use.”
Moving ahead, the information gained from these workshops will be used by IUCN to develop activities to support climate change adaptation and develop site management plans that incorporate strategies identified in the workshops.