DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT BENEFICIARIES/ AFFECTED PEOPLE 46
Environmental setting 86
INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS 115
EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL RISKS 125
PROJECT MITIGATION MEASURES 148
Kaye, M. 2012. Global forest expert panel presents key findings on link between biodiversity and carbon. Forests News- CIFOR. 158
On a global level up to 80% of all deforestation is the result of agriculture. Moss, C. 2012. Infographic: Charting the history of agriculture and climate change. Forests News- CIFOR. Web source: http://blog.cifor.org/12393/infographic-charting-the-history-of-agriculture-and-climate-change/ 161
PROJECT FEEDBACK and GRIEVANCE MECHANISMS 173
MONITORING AND EVALUATION 177
ADB Asian Development Bank
CSO Civil Society Organizations
CEDAW Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
Lao PDR is one of the least developed countries in Southeast Asia. The country has considerable natural resources in forests, water resources, and minerals and these are significant for cultural development, environment protection, and economic development. Its forests cover about 40% of the country, the highest percentage in Southeast Asia, but the total area of forest has declined dramatically from 70% of the land area of 26.5 million ha in 1940, to 49% in 1982, and to only 40% or about 9.5 million ha in 2010. Data on changes in forest cover suggest that during the 1990s the annual loss of forest cover was around 1.4% annually, giving an average annual loss of forest cover of about 134,000 ha.
In addition to the declining forest area, there has been a steady fragmentation of forests and a decline in the average growing stock within the residual forest, which have both reduced carbon values and had a negative impact on biodiversity. Annual emissions from deforestation and forest degradation were estimated at 95.3 million tCO2e in 1982, declining to 60.6 million tCO2e by 2010. For the period from 2012-20, the average annual emission is estimated at 51.1 million tCO2e.
The Lao Forest Investment Program (FIP) to which this ESIA and subsequent safeguard frameworks (from ADB and IFC) relate, have been developed to support the national Forest Strategy 2020 (FS2020) and ongoing efforts to protect and restore forest cover and to reduce forest carbon emissions and implement a national REDD+ program. The program themes have been developed to directly address the primary drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. The underlying idea is that grassroots forest managers operating in any and all forest areas will become more active and vigilant in protecting the forests in their areas from the various agents of deforestation and degradation, and will rehabilitate degraded lands using land management systems that will provide them with livelihood benefits, while enhancing carbon stocks.
Overview of PSFM Implementation in PFAs. The current implementation of Participatory Sustainable Forest Management (PSFM) in Production Forest Areas (PFAs) has its roots in village forestry, which was piloted in the late 1990s at large scale covering two state production forests (Dong Sithouane in Savannakhet Province and Dong Phousoi in Khammouane Province). The piloting of village forestry was undertaken by the Forest Management and Conservation Project (FOMACOP) with technical assistance provided by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFAF) and financial support by the International Development Agency (IDA) of the World Bank (WB). The appropriateness of the developed village forestry systems and procedures has been shown by the inclusion of Dong Sithouane and Dong Phousoi in the FAO List of Exemplary Managed Forests in Asia in the early 2000s, as well as by the certification as sustainably managed forests of forest management units (FMUs) in the two forest areas by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in 2005-2010 with extension in 2010-2015.
The piloting of village forestry was followed by the institution of participatory management of production forests for nation-wide application as an official government policy in the early 2000s. Many of the current PSFM concepts, systems, regulations and operating guidelines have been formulated based on the pilot village forestry model. PSFM was first applied in 2004-2008 in 8 PFAs, which have a total area of 0.66 million ha and are located in 4 provinces in Southern Laos. This was undertaken by the Sustainable Forestry and Rural Development Project (SUFORD), which like FOMACOP were provided with technical assistance support by MFAF and financial support by IDA. MFAF and IDA continued their support through an additional financing phase, SUFORD-AF, expanding the application of PSFM to cover a total of 16 PFAs, which have a total area of 1.28 million ha and are located in 9 provinces in Southern and Central Laos.
As the completion of SUFORD drew near, the Lao Government (GOL) proposed the Lao Investment Plan to the Forest Investment Program (FIP) of the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) with the core objective of reducing GHG emissions from forests by reducing deforestation and forest degradation, conserving and enhancing carbon stocks, and sustainable management of forests (five GHG emission-reducing activities that together constitute REDD+). The Lao Investment Plan includes components on managing five categories of forest areas, i.e. PSFM in three categories of state forest areas (production/ conservation/protection), village forestry in village-use forests, and smallholder forestry in land allocated to villagers, and includes a component to strengthen the enabling environment. The proposal was favorably considered by the FIP Steering Committee with funding provided for three projects, namely: (a) Protecting Forests for Ecosystems Services with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as the designated Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) partner, (b) Smallholder Forestry with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as the designated MDB partner, and (c) Scaling up PSFM (SUPSFM or the Project) with WB as the designated MDB partner. During the design of the project it was deemed necessary to introduce a landscape approach to facilitate dialogue and coordination among forest managers at the local level, Provincial and District level authorities and to facilitate the inter agency support to improve local communities livelihoods and tenure security.