Implementation of the Convention
Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target
To improve the legal and regulatory framework, Lao PDR will: consider participation in other international conventions (besides the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and CITES); consider the preparation of a law on biodiversity conservation based on the review of existing National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (NBCA) and other related regulations; and improve wildlife and aquatic life regulations concerning use of wetlands for fish raising and ecotourism.
Actions to improve the development and management of NBCAs include: review the existing NBCA system to include important wildlife and aquatic habitats and exclude more development areas; prepare long-term NBCA development and management plans with participation of stakeholders including local villages; improve NBCA financing through government funding and income generating activities and fines; develop eco-tourism in investment programs and projects; provide NBCA managers with the required material and facilities (transport, computer, uniforms, etc.); increase NBCA staff numbers and skill levels through short and long-term programs and establish an NBCA staff management and reward system to compensate for duties performed under difficult living and working conditions; consider the development of codes of practice or guidelines for tourism operators to provide a basis for development of responsible ecotourism that benefits rural communities and the environment while generating revenue for the nation; identify sites for conservation of tree genetic resources in the whole country and establish legal framework for conservation of the sites and the use of genetic resources; and develop controls and regulations on the protection of forest genetic resources and intellectual property rights to ensure that benefits from development of pharmaceuticals or other products, which may have been derived from genetic resources collected in Lao PDR or developed based on traditional knowledge of forest products, accrue to the nation and rural communities.
Concerning the control of wildlife trade, the government of Lao PDR is: using information collected from recent studies on wildlife trade in Lao PDR to identify and implement priority actions to strengthen domestic and international wildlife trade controls; intensifying border patrols to control unauthorized export of wildlife to neighboring countries and to enhance monitoring of trade/transport routes out of NBCAs; and taking advantage of participation in CITES to strongly cooperate with other countries on border control of trade on wildlife and plants
Actions to enhance education and public awareness include: educate and train staff in central, provincial and district level (including Ministry of Finance tax and customs staff) on biodiversity conservation and trade in wildlife and plant species; establish extension programs on the sustainable use of wildlife and plants and conservation in general; educate villagers to streamline forest resource use methods that threaten resource base or negatively impact biodiversity; and introduce or include biodiversity conservation into primary and secondary school curriculum.
To strengthen research, Lao PDR will: prepare research into dynamics of important plants, wildlife and habitats inside and outside NBCAs; cooperate with foreign universities and institutes to develop scientific knowledge and provide high level training for officials and students; and develop plant and wildlife databases for research, decision-making and management.
Initiatives in Protected Areas
Management of National Biodiversity Conservation Areas is still at an initial stage. Many of them lack clear boundaries and management plans and resource depletion continues. Illegal harvesting and trade of wildlife and Non Timber Forest Products is also likely widespread. Operational capacity of saw mills is still far above the harvesting levels set by the Government and continues to put pressure on natural forests.
Initiatives in Access and Benefit Sharing
Lao PDR is a party to the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Access, and Fair and Equitable sharing of Benefits Arising from the Utilization of, Biological and Genetic Resources. The main obligations of the parties are: (a) taking legislative, administrative or policy measures as appropriate to regulate access to, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of, biological and genetic resources in accordance with this Agreement; (b) establishing procedures for the granting of prior informed consent at the national and local levels with the direct involvement of resource providers; (c) disseminating information on access regulation, and applications for access that have been approved and denied, including the reasons and circumstances for such a denial; and (d) establishing links with, and providing information to the regional clearing house mechanism once it has been established.
Initiatives for Article 8(j)
The traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and of local communities related to the possible use of the biological diversity that surrounds them is an important resource, particularly in the search for new medicines. The Lao PDR has one of the richest biodiversity resources in the Asia-Pacific region. The local people have been applying their own traditional knowledge in their daily lives, and this is a strong basis for sustainable socio-economic development and environmental protection.