6. Environmental protection and sustainable natural resources management

Laos 96- Environmental protection and sustainable natural resources management

Environment/Forestry

On the one hand the document expresses confidence on reaching the national forest cover target of 65%  (in 2015 – 7th NSEDP), while on the other hand it recognises the challenges in reducing biodiversity loss (with a proportion of species threatened with extinction having increased from 115 to 167 in just one year: 2010-2011). This may be an illustration of the constraints offered by the present model, which is inclusive of conservation forest, protection forest and production forest (see §247). The proportion of production forest in the national forest cover seems to be on the rise and this is being clearly further promoted in the 8th NSEDP – (Outcome 1). This in itself should not be of concern, but we would welcome a reconsideration of the present model to ensure that the national forest cover takes into consideration appropriate measures to reverse the current worrying trends of biodiversity loss. We  therefore recommend this  to  be  taken into  serious consideration when defining the policies for the new 8th NSEDP target of increasing the forest cover target up to 70% by 2020.

The elements of water, food and energy nexus are welcome, but could still feature more prominently throughout the document.

The development of a green economy is welcome but it is currently too conscripted to Outcome 3. We are concerned that this is not sufficiently present in Outcome 1 and see space for mainstreaming it more consistently throughout various sectors.

We welcome the acknowledgement of needs to improve legislation on the use and management of nature resources. In this regard, we would suggest more explicit links to illegal timer and wildlife trade, and biodiversity preservation in the broader context of sustainable development.

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