CCE Country Profile

laos, flag, national flag-162337.jpg

Lao People's Democratic Republic

Table of Contents

We encourage countries to give input on the profiles to assist us in keeping them accurate and up to date. Please contact the GEM Report (education.profiles(at) or the MECCE Project ( to give input. The country profiles are also available on the GEM Report’s Profiles Enhancing Education Reviews (PEER) website at


I) Climate change context

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is located in Southeast Asia and shares borders with Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, China and Vietnam. It has a total land area of 236,800 square kilometres and a population of 7.2 million people. The Lao People’s Democratic Republic is endowed with abundant natural resources, including forests, water, minerals and biodiversity. 

 According to the World Bank (2021), Lao PDR has high levels of disaster risk. The country is extremely vulnerable to both riverine flooding and flash flooding. Lao PDR is also vulnerable to tropical cyclones and their associated dangers. As hydropower developments on the Mekong River substantially have reduced the risk of drought, their impact still needs to be monitored.

According to the Global Carbon Atlas, Lao PDR is a country with low carbon emissions. Data from 2021 shows that Lao PDR emits 2.8 tCO2 per person. According to the country’s National Communication, Lao PDR’s C02 net GHG emissions in 2000 were approximately 50,000 Gg. According to the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) (2021), the greatest emitting sources are land-use change, agriculture and forestry, together contributing over 95% of the total greenhouse gas emissions. Of all emissions, the land use and forestry sector contributed 83% of the emissions, the agriculture sector contributed 15%, and the energy sector contributed 2%. Lao PDR joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a Non-Annex I Country in 1995. Lao PDR ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2003, and the Paris Agreement in 2016, and accepted the Doha Amendment in 2013. 

A report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in June 2022, entitled How Laws and Policies Promote Gender Equality in Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, highlights the fact that laws and policies related to various sectors in the country that impact on women’s ability to cope with climate change and disasters, have not yet fully incorporated gender considerations. The exception is the Decree on Environmental Impact Assessment (2019), which is regarded as gender sensitive as it encourages the collection of gender-based information. 

With a population of just over 7 million, Lao PDR is the most ethnically diverse country in continental Southeast Asia. The Lao people, constituting roughly half of the population, dominate the economy and culture of the country. In certain provinces and districts, however, there are more people from Indigenous groups than there are Lao, and their culture is dominant. 

Due to its tropical location, Laos is susceptible to a variety of natural hazards, including droughts, floods and cyclones. As the country’s traditional agricultural systems are susceptible to flooding, drought and the late advent of the rainy seasons, Indigenous people living in these parts have been particularly vulnerable to the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters over the past few years.

II) Relevant government agencies

Climate change 

Article 31 of the Climate Change Decree (2019) empowers the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) to take the lead in defining principles, regulations and measures to combat climate change. The ministry is also entrusted with the crucial task of monitoring climate change and its impacts on the country’s environment. The ministry is responsible for coordinating efforts with other ministries, agencies and local government bodies in combating the effects of climate change. Under the umbrella of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Article 31 of the decree, the Provincial Departments of Natural Resources and Environment implement strategic plans and regulations, carry out vulnerability assessments, create information systems, and monitor and report on the implementation of work to the national ministry. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment also has an Environmental Department of Climate Change, which serves as the National Focal Point to the UNFCCC

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment works on a decentralized basis. At the district level, offices of Natural Resources and Environment contribute to local initiatives and responses to the challenges of climate change by coordinating their work with that of the office and villages in the administration of their work and reporting to the ministry, and the relevant mayor and head of municipalities.

The Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) (2005) is a government fund created to mobilize different kinds of finance coming from both internal and external sources, to promote effective and sustainable natural resource management and environmental protection. Created under the Prime Minister’s Decree 146 in 2005, the fund functions as an autonomous organization dedicated to the protection and management of the environment, as well as the conservation of biodiversity. The fund is currently housed within the Prime Minister’s Office, where it forms part of collaborative efforts of other agencies to reinforce Laos’ commitment to combat climate change and promote sustainable development. 

Chapter 9 of the Decree on Climate Change (2019) describes how climate change issues are dealt with by the government. Climate change issues are first dealt with by the central government, and assigned to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, which takes direct responsibility for them as it coordinates activities with other ministries, organizations and local authorities. The 2019 Decree on Climate Change defines the roles and responsibilities of the following ministries:

Provincial departments of Natural Resources and Environment: implement strategic plans, laws and regulations related to climate change at the provincial level. They assess vulnerability, develop adaptation plans, and collaborate with relevant local authorities and organizations. They also disseminate climate-related information and data.

  1. District Offices of Natural Resources and Environment: are tasked with implementing strategic plans, laws, and regulations related to climate change at the district level. They participate in vulnerability assessments, support village authorities in climate change activities, and report on climate change implementation within their districts.
  2. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry: integrates climate change considerations into its activities, focusing on agriculture and forestry. It conducts research on plant and animal species, promotes environmentally friendly technologies, manages agro-meteorology stations, and addresses greenhouse gas emissions by regulating land use.
  3. Ministry of Industry and Commerce: works to incorporate climate change concerns into its operations, encouraging the use of eco-friendly technologies and infrastructure development to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the industrial and commercial sectors.
  4. Ministry of Energy and Mines: plays a pivotal role in developing and promoting energy and mining infrastructure that can withstand climate change impacts. It also supports the adoption of renewable energy sources and environmentally friendly technologies.
  5. Ministry of Public Works and Transport: ensures climate change resilience in public works and transportation infrastructure, sets standards for infrastructure development and promotes environmentally friendly technologies within these sectors.
  6. Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare: integrates climate change considerations into its activities, particularly in disaster data and information management. It collaborates with other sectors and exchanges relevant data and information.
  7. Ministry of Science and Technology: focuses on advancing climate-friendly technologies, including alternative energy sources and innovations. It provides information on climate change and collaborates with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
  8. Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism: plays a role in disseminating climate change information through various media channels, coordinating with other sectors to raise awareness, and sharing climate-related data with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
  9. Ministry of Education and Sports: is responsible for integrating climate change into its activities, conducts research, develops educational curricula on climate change, and collaborates with other sectors to promote climate education.
  10. Ministry of Public Health: studies and addresses health-related issues associated with climate change, especially disease outbreaks. It provides information on the impact of climate change on health and collaborates with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
  11. Other sectors and local authorities: These entities are tasked with collaborating and cooperating with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on various climate change-related activities, including adaptation, infrastructure development and greenhouse gas reduction, in accordance with their respective mandates and laws.


The Ministry of Planning and Investment is the lead planning and coordination agency. It is in charge of finance and environmental issues such as financing targets for sustainable living, defining sustainable instruments for environmental protection, and making improvements to the monitoring, reporting and verification capacity of relevant agencies.

The German agency for international aid (GIZ), which manages the Promotion of Climate-related Environmental Education (ProCEEd) project, cooperates with the Department of Environment under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. It also supports environmental education and communication to increase knowledge on environmental protection, biodiversity and climate change in the country. The Department of Environment (DoE) maintains contact with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s provincial and district outreach units, sharing best practice in environmental education, and offering funding opportunities, and research and consulting services. The department is also a focal point for environmental education and awareness in relation to the National Strategy for Environmental Education and Awareness (NSEEA), and international relations and engagements in relation to the ASEAN Environmental Education Working Group.

The Government of Lao PDR has designated the Science, Technology, and Environment Agency (STEA) as the designated national authority for clean development mechanisms (CDM). The CDM Executive Board in Bonn, Germany, is in charge of the approval procedure for all CDM proposals in Lao PDR.

The Provincial Disaster Management Committee (PDMC) is the pivotal point for the implementation of disaster management resources. PDMCs include stakeholders from the police and armed forces, the public sector, civil society and the Lao Red Cross, which are all involved in collaborating around the national goals of environmental sustainability.

Laos also has disaster risk management (DRM) structures at the sub-national level in provinces, districts and villages, which form a multi-tier risk governance for emergency management. The system comprises provincial disaster prevention and control committees (PDPCCs), district disaster prevention and control committees (DDPCCs), and village disaster prevention and control committees (VDPCCs), or village disaster prevention units (VDPUs). These include representatives of community-based organizations (CBOs), traditional leaders, religious organizations and extension workers.

Education and Communication 

The Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES) is responsible for formal and non-formal education at all levels. In addition to the public provision of education, there is also private sector provision, for which the ministry has oversight responsibility. The ministry also shares responsibilities with the Provincial Education Services (PES) and the District Education Bureau (DEB)

The Higher Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Sports is dedicated to the management of the higher education sector, both public and private, in the whole region. The department is in charge of managing, promoting and supporting higher education with the overarching objective of nurturing skilled academics, researchers and scientists to meet the socio-economic development needs of the country. Environmental concerns within the curricula of Laos’ university faculties at the higher education level are supported by the establishment of research centres, and programmes such as environmental sciences, natural resource management and climate change within the university. 

Based on Article 40 of the Decree on Climate Change (2019), the Ministry of Science and Technology is responsible for: i) mainstreaming climate change issue into its activities; ii) conducting research, developing and encouraging the establishment of standards; promoting innovation; promoting the use of biodiesel or other alternative energies that are environmentally-friendly; and working towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; iii) providing information related to climate change from different sectors to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment; and iv) exercising all rights and performing any other duties as prescribed under law. 

Mind Media was founded in 1992 as one of the learning centres of the Participatory Development Training Centre. Mind Media seeks to address the most prevalent issues concerning the impact of human activities on the country’s natural environment, quality of life and living standards. Mind Media focuses particularly on making information available and access to rural communities and institutions. 

III) Relevant laws, policies, and plans

Climate change 

Laos commits to caring for the environment in its Constitution (1991). Article 19 declares that ‘all organizations and citizens must protect the environment and natural resources: land surfaces, underground [resources,] forests, animals, water sources and the atmosphere’. This article is supported by Article 70, which, through decrees and resolutions, outlines the duties of citizens in relation to the management of natural resources and the environment. According to Article 19 of the Laos Constitution:

The State promotes the protection and restoration of the environment which has been destroyed and degraded to develop it so that it may become abundant and sustainable: All organizations and citizens must protect and preserve biodiversity and use natural resources in line with the direction of ensuring sustainability.

The Environmental Protection Law was enacted in 1999. It outlines the guidelines, rules and actions that must be taken to manage, monitor, restore and safeguard the environment in order to protect human health. Some actions outlined in the law include the preservation of natural resources and the diversity of the natural world and ensuring the long-term socio-economic progress of the country.

Lao: Decree on Establishment of National Disaster Management Committee (1999) makes this the primary authority tasked with crafting policies and coordinating efforts related to mitigating disaster risks. The decree states that the committee bears the duty of ensuring disaster readiness and control, functioning as the central hub for coordinating national disaster management efforts. Under Article 5, the National Disaster Management Committee is mandated to devise an appropriate hierarchy of responsibility, extending from the national level down to the local regions, including provinces, districts and villages. 

The First National Communication on Climate Change (2000) presents the information generated by different studies and provides a summary of the national context. As there are presently no studies on the climatic vulnerability of the Lao PDR, the document does not discuss the country’s vulnerability to climate change.

The National Adaptation Programme of Action to Climate Change (NAPA) was initiated in 2009 under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The programme focuses on urgent adaptation plans in sectors such as agriculture, forestry, water resources and public health, aiming to bolster resilience and sustainable development amid changing climatic conditions.

The Second National Communication (2013) includes references to studies and information used in the development of mitigation and adaptation measures, as well as proposals for projects for strengthening resistance to the effects of climate change. The document discusses incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change into medium- and long-term planning, and appropriate education, training, public awareness programmes, and climate change mitigation methods.

The Decree on Climate Change, which was approved in 2019, creates the legal and institutional framework necessary to build low-emission, climate-resilient growth in Lao PDR. The decree mandates the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to lead national climate change responses in coordination with all the ministries that have climate change related responsibilities. Specifically, the decree makes provision for: i) a climate change data and information management system to foster national coordination on climate planning and action; ii) vulnerability assessment and mapping processes to support national adaptation action; and iii) the development of a framework for enhancing carbon sinks and preparing a national greenhouse gas strategy. 

The National Green Growth Strategy of the Lao PDR till 2030 (2018) is the detailed distilling of the Resolution of the 10th Party Congress, the Vision 2030, the 10-Year Strategy (2016-2025), and the 8th Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2016-2020). The main objectives and goals of the strategy are to: develop the country’s potential to integrate green growth into the formulation and implementation of sector and local strategies; devise plans to ensure the achievement of the long-term goals of national socio-economic development established by the LPR party and government (including the transition from least developed country (LDC) status by 2020 and the progress in achieving the status of a developing country). 

The Technology Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation (2018) includes actions and activities, funding sources, responsible organizations, a timeline, risks, success criteria and indicators for monitoring and evaluation, as well as an implementation budget. The focus is on capacity building; and providing access to financial support and resources in eight key areas: i) early warning systems; ii) a disaster impact reduction fund; iii) river-basin management; iv) climate-resilient water supply systems; v) livestock disease prevention and control; vi) agricultural development subsidy mechanisms; vii) climate-resilient rural infrastructure; and viii) crop diversification.

In 2019, Laos issued Decree Number 321 on Climate Change in September 2019, which was a significant step in the way the country is to continue addressing environmental challenges. The decree granted the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment the highest mandate from the government to manage climate change-related issues.

The National Population and Development Policy 2019-30  refers to the sustainable development of the environment. The main goal is to involve the population in programmes that deal with natural resources and sustainable development. The plan states that: ‘All organizations and citizens must protect the environment and natural resources: land surfaces, underground [resources] forests, animals, water sources and the atmosphere’.

The 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) 2021-2025, which has fully embraced the Agenda 2030, has started to become operational. The plan aims to foster sustainable, green and inclusive growth. Broadly, the plan aims: ‘to focus on the socio-economic development based on the country full potentials in order to strongly graduate from the Least Development Countries (LDC) with quality, well-balanced and green growth and to achieve the SDGs in 2030.’ The plan focuses on six main pillars: a sustainable and diverse economy; human asset development; livelihood improvement; environment protection; climate resilience; and governance.

The Updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) (2021) outlines the country’s commitments to combating climate change. Laos submitted its first NDC in 2015, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030, as well as commitment to a stronger conditional mitigation plan until 2030, with the goal of net zero GHG emissions of 2050. In line with the Paris Agreement, the Nationally Determined Contributions (2020) also includes: greater transparency and consistency between quantitative targets; new short-term objectives for climate change adaptation; a stronger measurement, reporting and verification system; and a declaration of intent to encourage voluntary cooperation among the public. 

The draft of the Strategic Environment Assessment on Green Growth Strategy (2022) aims to assess the potential environmental and social risks of each individual policy, measure, programme and project of the National Green Growth Strategy of the Lao PDR (2018). It also aims to provide detailed recommendations on how to mitigate and/or avoid the potential risks in order to support the implementation of the National Green Growth Strategy of the Lao PDR. The ultimate goal of the Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) on Green Growth Strategy is to obtain the SEA certificate issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in accordance with the Law on Environmental Protection 2012, Decision Number 843/MoNRE, and Instruction Number 6616/MoNRE.

According to the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, SDG 13 emphasizes the need to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Some of the targets outlined in the document include: strengthening resilience and adaptation to climate change and natural disasters, including in marginalized communities; and aligning the country’s strategic engagement with the Green Climate Fund. The documents also include the recommendation to set up a task force for monitoring, following up on projects related to climate change, and developing policies that encourage clean energy consumption and responsible consumption in general.

Education and communication

According to the First National Communication on Climate Change (2000), most awareness of climate change issues is currently at the level of policymakers. This limitation points to the need for the subject of climate change to be covered in educational curricula, so that the wider population can be reached.

The National Strategy on Environmental Education and Awareness (NSEEA), which was endorsed by the government in 2004, works with the ProCEEd project to assist in the revision process of the national strategy and its action plan. The revisions are to include climate change and major development trends in the country. 

The Laos law on education No. 43/NA 2007 covers the country’s vision, strategy and guidelines for education. At the time of writing, there was no reference to the integration of education and environment nor climate change. 

In 2008, Lao PDR established a National Steering Committee on Climate Change to promote sustainable development and address climate change at the national level. It also established a National Climate Change Office to take responsibility for issues such as data collection, research and raising awareness on climate change.

The Environmental Protection Law (2013) (specifically Articles 46 and 47) provides regulations for climate change. It focuses on environmental awareness, education and information services. The law also makes it clear that the ministry in charge of natural resources and the environment must set up systems to manage and provide environmental information to the public, in line with specific guidelines. The law also needs to ensure that the general public, and public and private organizations have the right to have access to environmental information.

The goals of the Natural Resources and Environment Strategy of Laos for the Years 2016 to 2025 (2015) include the implementation of education and awareness programmes on environmental protection and the sustainable use of natural resources. 

Other provisions for communication and awareness are the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which was ratified by the country in 1996. Article 19 of the Convention acknowledges the need for ‘Capacity Building Education and Public Awareness with regards to climate change issues.’ Article 19.b emphasizes the need for ‘strengthening training and research capacity at the national level in the field of desertification and drought.’ Article 19.d acknowledges the need for ‘fostering the use and dissemination of knowledge and know-how and practices of local people in technical cooperation programmes, wherever suitable.’ Article 5.d illustrates the need to ‘promote awareness and facilitate the participation of local populations, particularly women and youth, with the support of nongovernmental organizations, in efforts to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought.’

Another policy and programme focused on education and communication is the Environmental Educational Awareness in Laos (2019), which is led by the Department of Environment of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. It works in conjunction with provincial and district environmental agencies, the Provincial Office of Natural Resources and Environment, District Offices of Natural Resources and the Environment (DONRE), civil society organizations (CSOs), outreach units of the National University of Laos, as well as a number of social enterprises, to provide communication and tools for achieving sustainable development.

According to the National Strategy on Climate Change of the Lao PDR (2021), the National Strategy on Education and Awareness on the Environment and Climate Change (2018 – 2025) (2018) emphasizes that the Faculty of Environmental Science, Water Resources, and Forestry of the National University of Laos must include climate change subjects in its curriculum. Among the goals of public education, awareness, and participation is the objective to ‘promote and strengthen climate-change-related public education, dialogues, access to information and knowledge, and awareness raising; and encourage the general public to take responsibility, participate, and contribute to climate change management.’

The Lao Youth Adolescent Development Strategy 2021-2030 (2021) has two key objectives: to disseminate knowledge of climate change that affects livelihoods, especially in agriculture and fisheries; and to promote the creation of jobs that are green, clean, and resilient to climate change in all sectors. 

The National Green Growth Strategy of the Lao PDR (2018) focuses on: i) building the awareness of the primary and secondary level students and mainstreaming green growth into the teaching and learning curriculum of the primary and secondary schools; ii) coordinating activities with the enterprise sector to develop the curriculum for vocational education in green growth and sustainable development (such as eco-tourism management, clean agricultural production, organic agricultural production) as part of the goal of ensuring the supply of quality labour for green growth; iii) developing the curriculum and starting the teaching of subjects related to green growth/sustainable development (such as environmental economics, natural resources management, water resources management and administration) in schools and universities; and iv) enhancing research and analysis on science and policies relating to green growth.

A policy action included in the Education and Sports Sector Development Plan 2021-2025 is the finalization and implementation of the Education Emergency Contingency Plan. The need for it to take climate change into account is emphasized because the education sector and the students and communities it is addressing are vulnerable to the impact of disasters.

IV) Terminology used for climate communication and education

Frequently recurring terms include: ‘environmental education’, ‘environmental awareness’, ‘environmental protection’, and ‘environmental communication’. These are used in line with efforts to include climate change in communication and education for public awareness. Article 3 of the Environmental Protection Law (2013) states that:

Environmental protection means the application of methods and measures for environmental protection, conservation and rehabilitation, pollution control, environmental emergency and natural disasters; and for the creation of a green, clean and beautiful environment without pollution and impacts on human life and health, animals, plants and ecosystems. (p. 2) 

Regarding climate change, the National Adaptation Plan of Action to Climate Change (2009) states that,

temperature is continuously increasing and the rainfall is erratic, resulting in a number of adverse impacts to the economic system, environment and the livelihoods of people of all ethnic groups. Thus, climate change poses a great challenge for the Lao PDR to tackle and we must adapt to climate conditions and control the emission of these greenhouse gases. (p. 1)

Environmental education and awareness mean the planned and strategic use of learning and communication processes to support policy-making, public participation and the implementation of activities geared towards sustainable development. This involves two-way social interaction that enables people to understand key environmental factors and their interdependencies and to respond to environmental challenges in a competent way. (p. 1)

The National Green Growth Strategy of the Lao PDR till 2030 (2018) states that In particular, the National Green Growth Strategy of the Lao PDR has focused on:

increasing the economic resilience to climate change, natural disasters and of global economic uncertainties.” Additionally, the Motto of the National Green Growth Strategy of the Lao PDR is “For achieving the economic growth that is efficient, clean, comprehensive, inclusive, fair and resilient to climate change and global economic uncertainties. (p. 3)

The National Green Growth Strategy (2018) states that

the National Green Growth Strategy of the Lao PDR has the position and main roles as follows: (1) Building the awareness and creating the consensus on green growth in conformance with the actual requirements of the national socio-economic development in each period” (p. 22)

The 2019 Decree on Climate Change defines climate change as modifications in the status of average temperatures on earth greater than normal ranges in the long-term, caused by direct and indirect human actions or nature, resulting in shifting atmospheric components.

V) Budget for climate communication and education

Climate finance refers to funding from various sources such as the government, the private sector, bilateral and multilateral collaborators and dedicated climate funds. These funds are intended for projects related to both climate adaptation and mitigation. The Government of Lao PDR currently lacks a structured approach for monitoring and reporting on climate finance. Development partners such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) are assisting the government to establish more structured systems. 

The UNDP provides technical support to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on climate finance monitoring. It has developed a guidance manual that outlines the procedure for collecting data from the relevant ministries. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been supporting the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) in establishing the Project Management Information System (PROMIS2), and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) will be working with the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) to include climate change markers into the Official Development Assistance (ODA) database that is administered by the ministry.

Multilateral development banks, bilateral partners, the Development Assistant Committee and other multilateral partners are key climate-focused development finance providers to Lao PDR. Data from the OECD’s Climate-related Development Finance Data report shows that around US $987 million was committed to Lao PDR over the period 2015-2019. In 2019 alone, annual inflow rose to US $314 million, representing a 260% increase from 2018. Climate-related development finance for mitigation and cross-cutting categories of climate change was about US $290 million, or 29% of climate-related finance over the same period. Based on the OECD data, adaptation finance outperformed mitigation finance. This is above the global average for adaptation finance, which in 2017/2018 only accounted for 5% of total tracked climate finance. 

The Decree on Climate Change (2019) issued by the Prime Minister’s Office assigns the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) with the responsibility for: overseeing the implementation of the National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP); coordinating official development assistance (ODA) and ensuring that it is aligned with the plan; promoting Foreign Direct Investment by offering investment incentives and screening investment proposals; ensuring the accuracy of all investment-related data; and monitoring investment.

The Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) was established in 2005 as a financially autonomous organization to strengthen environmental protection, sustainable natural resources management, biodiversity conservation and community development in the country. Potential sources of capital and income for the Environmental Protection Fund are grants and loans from domestic and foreign entities, the government budget and development projects, contributions from businesses and entities, and interest or benefits accrued from investing in the Environmental Protection Fund endowment. The Environmental Protection Fund channels funds through six windows: i) policy implementation and capacity enhancement; ii) biodiversity and community investment; iii) pollution control; iv) water resources management; v) sustainable land resources management; and vi) climate change.

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) is responsible for coordinating activities with major international organizations around loans, debt management and fiscal policy. The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) will be providing support to the ministry in mapping climate-related expenditures.

According to the National Determined Contribution 2021, efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change could require around US$4.7 billion in financing by 2030. This is expected to come mostly from the private sector due to constraints in the public budget. 

While the Laotian Government also provides climate change related funding to ministries, there is no system that tracks this. The private sector makes investments into climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives, but there does not seem to be a system that measures the impact of these activities; nor is there a tracking system for the private sector’s climate change investment is not yet available either.


I) Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education

The Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES) in Lao PDR, with support from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), decided to undertake a comprehensive review of the primary curriculum, starting with an assessment of the current status of student learning outcomes within primary education. According to the Ministry of Education and Sports (2015) ‘Student learning outcomes are essential for improvement of instruction, strengthening teaching and learning materials and developing relevant formative and summative assessment systems’ (p. 1). Clear student learning outcomes and expectations are important for teachers’ preparation activities, as they guide the development of teacher training.

The current Student Learning Outcomes in Primary Education in Lao PDR (2013) concentrates on three priorities: expanding equitable access; improving education quality and relevance; and strengthening educational planning and management. These pillars are set out in the Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP) 2016– 2020, the Government of Lao PDR’s five-year plan for education.

Article 46 of the Environment Protection Law (2013) stipulates that the government will encourage engagement from the public in environmental conservation through the integration of environmental topics into formal and non-formal education curricula. This inclusion will extend to all educational levels, including vocational schools and public and private universities. 

According to the Lao PDR Primary Curriculum Framework (2018), the primary education curriculum consists of nine main subjects including science and environment. In science and environment, students learn the fundamentals of science, technology, sanitation, the environment, and natural disaster preparedness. Students are also expected to develop the skills and attitudes necessary to recognize and understand natural phenomena and to solve everyday problems. ‘Living things’, ‘non-living things’, and ‘technology and information’ are the three interrelated components of the science and environment competencies. The ‘non-living’ component includes meteorology, the climate and climate change.

The Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES) has integrated prevention and response for natural and man-made hazards (disasters) in the community into the updated grades 1 and 2 teaching and learning curricula. This includes a focus on school premises (such as floods and household fires). This is currently being tested in selected provinces, and these themes are progressively taught within the science and environment subject. 

II) Climate change in teacher training and teacher resources

The Ministry of Education and Sports is committed to increasing the supply of qualified teachers, in its aim to fulfil SDG 4 (ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all). With support from development partners working in the areas of education, the ministry has initiated the development of the Laws, Decrees and Strategies of Teachers in Lao PDR as an integrated component of the country’s Education and Sports Sector Development Plan (2021-2025). The Department of Teacher Education plays a key coordinating role, ensuring a holistic approach and a participatory process, and working in collaboration with relevant bodies and agencies within and outside the government.

The Education and Sports Sector Development Plan 2021-2025 (2020) outlines a range of objectives and expected outcomes aimed at enhancing the sector. Notably, the plan emphasizes the goal of strengthening the education system’s ability to respond to emergencies and increase its resilience in the face of disasters, including considering climate change impacts in a future education emergency contingency plan. This is emphasized as a priority, with related policy actions directed at finalizing and implementing the contingency plan. The Education and Sports Sector Development Plan 2021-2025 (2020) also includes the integration of emergency preparedness into various aspects of ministries, organizations and school training, and is complemented by dedicated programmes to train teachers in effectively managing emergency situations.

III) Climate change in higher education

As a response to Laos’s susceptibility to the effects of climate change, the Regional Climate Change Curriculum Development Project (2012-2015) was implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID through its Lowering Emissions in Asia Forests (LEAF) project and the United States Forest Service (USFS). This initiative involved 56 experts who prioritized four curriculum modules: basic climate change; social and environmental considerations; land use planning and climate change; and carbon measurement and monitoring. The National University of Laos emphasized that collaborating with a wide range of educators enriched climate change education in the country.

As per Article 21 of the Education Law (2015), higher education includes post-high school, middle, or high-level professional education. Its primary responsibility is to nurture experts, scientists and researchers equipped with advanced knowledge and skills to contribute to society and excel in their respective fields. However, it is worth noting that Article 24 of the Climate Change Decree (2019) states that all parties in society have an obligation to participate and contribute to education on climate change, particularly through curriculum development for university education systems at all levels in both public and private institutions. 

The Faculty of Forestry at the National University of Laos has developed curricula and established a Natural Resource and Environment Research Institute and Climate Change. Within the faculty, efforts have been concentrated on activities related to mitigation and the reduction of emissions resulting from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. The faculty is actively engaged in offering instruction and training in climate change issues, which are progressively being integrated into the educational framework. 

The National University of Laos also teaches courses related to climate change through the Faculty of Environmental Science, the Faculty of Water Resources, the Faculty of Natural Sciences and the Faculty of Forest Science. Some subjects related to climate change in these faculties are disaster management, water resources management, meteorology and hydrology. The Centre for Research on Changes in Natural Resource and Climate Change is one of the learner centres of the Faculty of Forest Science. The faculty is made up of a number of branches: forest resource allocation, rural development, integrated forest resource management, watershed management, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Awareness-raising on environmental and climate change as well as the circular economy have been key elements in the faculty’s climate change projects. The projects seek to enhance stakeholders’ understanding of all these issues, including the contribution of greenhouse gas emissions to climate change and the impacts of climate change. 

IV) Climate change in training and adult learning

Climate change is referred to in the Laos Red Cross Strategic Plan 2011-2015 as a ‘future trend’ that the Laos Red Cross (LRC) needs to take into consideration. The plan notes that climate change not only endangers lives and undermines livelihoods, but also threatens to increase the gaps between rich and poor people, as well as the inequities between women and men.

The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment collaborate with international agencies to hold technical training for urban-based stakeholders. Participants include staff working at the ministries, provincial representatives and district-level officials, and the training aims to help them understand climate change and assess risks at the city level. The goal is to identify climate risks and vulnerabilities in each city and develop strategies to mitigate them. Stakeholders also gather at the national level to share experiences, prioritize investments, and create concept notes to obtain funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

The NGO CARE Laos has been actively engaged in combating climate issues for over five years. The organization collaborates with governments, communities and civil society partners to address various aspects of climate change. Through transformative adaptation and innovative mitigation practices, CARE aims to support communities. It has undertaken multiple projects that aim to enhance the lives of local ethnic communities and strengthen government authorities’ capacity to improve livelihood resilience in the face of climate change and disasters in different provinces. CARE Laos focuses on initiatives such as Community-Based Disaster Risk Management Programming, Agro-Climate Information, for women and ethnic minority farmers to learn about resilient farming practices, and gender-responsive, community-centred climate adaptation strategies.

Regional Community Forestry Training Centre for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC) manages forests in Asia and the Pacific, and states that it has conducted 35 training and capacity development sessions focused on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and climate change in Lao PDR. Support was received from partner organizations and a total of 5,428 participants were trained, with women making up 25% of the total. Two training manuals have been developed: one for national-level stakeholders and another for community-level stakeholders. The manuals cover topics such as climate change, REDD, social safeguards in relation to REDD goals, and sustainable forest management. 

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) also conducts training courses on advanced geographic information systems for government officials to enable them to carry out climate mapping and zoning. The officials come from different departments, such as the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology under the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources , which is responsible for data management; and the modelling staff from the Department of Agricultural Land Management, which falls under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Vocational agricultural and forestry institutions supply recruits to local offices. Currently, climate change is not part of their curriculum. German aid agency GIZ aims to change this through its Climate Change Awareness and Environmental Education project, which will involve training vocational schools to teach climate change and provide training for office staff.

Some projects play a central role in the incorporation of climate-related subject matter into specific vocational education programmes. This allows students the opportunity to learn about the interconnections between their chosen careers and the themes of environmental preservation and climate shifts. These training initiatives cater for a wide array of professions, and each course is tailored to respond to the specific climate change related challenges of the different professions.


I) Climate change and public awareness

Under the Environmental Protection Law No. 02-99/NA 3 April 1999, Article 4 includes obligations to protect the environment. The law states that the government should direct and promote environmental protection by providing relevant data and information, raising public awareness and providing education that relates to how people interact with the environment in their daily lives. This includes the need to respect the strict implementation of policies, laws and regulations on the environment. 

Focusing on increasing climate change awareness, the Environment Protection Law (2013) organizes information into ‘general’ and ‘confidential’ categories. Sharing general information involves the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment working with others to manage environmental and social project data, and to help stakeholders and affected people get relevant information. It also covers the need for project developers to make information about the environmental aspects of their work available, create information centres in project areas and districts, and share information in Lao and English to improve climate change awareness.

The ProCEED project aims to improve knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding environmental and biodiversity protection, as well as climate change adaptation. It uses the ‘edutainment’ method, a form of entertainment designed for learning that aims to awaken curiosity, foster discussion and increase knowledge about relevant environmental topics. 

Article 46 of the Environment Protection Law (2013) notes that the government will provide backing for individuals, businesses and groups who are aiming to enhance environmental consciousness and participate in environmental advocacy. 

The aim of theme 6.2 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Strategy of Laos for the years 2016-2025 is to improve the environmental quality in Lao cities and rural areas to ensure a better quality of life for Lao people. To achieve this objective, it is necessary to continue to implement education and awareness programmes on environmental protection and the sustainable use of natural resources. This must be done through the implementation of environmental and awareness strategies. Theme 6.3 of the strategy also points to the need to implement public awareness-raising programmes on climate change and related impacts to ensure the effective use of local resources, appropriate governance arrangements and community participation.

The Environmental Education and Awareness in Laos network brings together individual and organizational leaders in environmental education, communication and awareness raising. Working on the basis of collaboration and partnership, the network strives to accelerate the development and reach of environmental education and awareness methods and tools for achieving sustainable development. Network organizations work with educators, government officers, civil society leaders and volunteers, social enterprises and private sector companies, as well as partners in international development. 

The Social Environmental Education & Development (SEED) Unit is made up of a group of student volunteers from the Faculty of Environmental Sciences at the National University of Laos. They are engaged in environmental awareness raising and sustainable development initiatives at all levels of Lao society, particularly at the university, and at schools in Vientiane, the country’s capital, as well as in remote areas.

The Natural Resources and Environmental Promotion Unit (NREP) is composed of student volunteers from the National University of Laos’s Faculty of Forestry. They engage in environmental education, forest conservation and sustainable development.

In line with Article 24 of the Decree on Climate Change (2019), the Laotian Government encourages individuals and organizations to undertake awareness raising activities and organize campaigns on climate change at important public events.

II) Climate change and public access to information

Article 4 of the Environmental Protection Law (2013) includes obligations to protect the environment. To this end, the government is responsible for directing and promoting environmental protection by: providing relevant data and information; raising public awareness; and educating citizens so that they appreciated the importance of the environment in their daily lives.

The 2014 assessment of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility progress in implementing the Forest Governance tool noted that public information databases and documents are limited and that there is also limited access to information about forests, including inventory data, production, and revenue. The assessment also reports that Laos is experiencing the emergence of an active civil society that is aware of and responsive to environmental issues. The assessment also notes that while there has been more media coverage of forestry sector affairs and challenges media capacity continues to be weak and the media are tightly controlled. 

As noted in the assessment, access to forest-related and environmental information is limited. There are not many active and up-to-date websites, and information is mainly disseminated to international agencies and frameworks such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Although this information is technically available to the general public, it is not systematically managed at the institutional level. This makes access to and tracking of information difficult. A further obstacle is that information that is intended for public release undergoes a thorough though time-consuming vetting process, particularly when dealing with sensitive data. However, it appears that efforts are under way to improve the transparency of information related to the government’s activities regarding climate change. 

According to Article 10 of the Decree on Climate Change (2019), individuals, legal entities and organizations are entitled to the ‘access and use of data and information on climate change that are officially disclosed in the data and information system on climate change, pursuant to applicable regulations.’ This same regulation states that the ‘[u]se of data and information on climate change survey and study for business purposes shall be subject to charge and service fees, pursuant to relevant regulations.’

Article 1 of the Decree of the Environmental Impact Assessment (2019) notes the guidelines, policies and actions required for effectively overseeing and supervising the execution of environmental impact assessments. The main objective is to ensure that these assessments are carried out transparently and effectively to safeguard the environment, address environmental impacts and provide remedies when necessary.

III) Climate change and public participation

In tackling concerns connected to safeguarding the environment, such as deforestation, the government encourages involvement from local communities. It does this through approaches such as Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES). Projects such as the effective implementation of payments for environmental services in Lao PDR carried out by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research have demonstrated that a conceptually sound ‘payment-for ecosystem-services’ scheme can be implemented successfully to create economic, environmental and social benefits.

Programme 4 of the National Biodiversity Strategy for 2020 and the Action Plan for 2010 outlines specific goals in relation to biodiversity. One goal is to improve public understanding of environmental issues and improve the impact of educational initiatives. Another goal is to train media professionals on the significance of Laos’s biodiversity and its link to people’s livelihoods is crucial. A further goal is to foster and facilitate public involvement. Realizing this entails refining relevant guidelines that promote public involvement in projects related to the management of natural resources.

The National Action Plan on Gender Equality 2021–2025 (NAPGE) applies a gender-responsive approach with diverse positive goals, including quotas for women in leadership across activities like climate change. Detailed strategies and new complaint procedures mentioned in the plan aid gender integration as described in the Women’s Resilience In The Lao People’s Democratic Republic Asian Development Bank report (2022), thus increasing women’s involvement in the achievement of climate resilience. 

The 2019 Environmental Impact Assessment Decree mandates gender-based data collection. The inclusion of the Lao Women’s Union (LWU) in the Climate Change Technical Working Group is another instrument that fosters the involvement of women in climate change issues. The Lao Women’s Union’s role in village disaster management committees under the Disaster Management Law is noteworthy, though this is not mirrored at higher levels of government.

Environmental safeguarding is embedded in the Nation’s Constitution as a shared responsibility of all citizens. The Environmental Protection Law (2012) mandates that all individuals and entities within the country honour this obligation. This includes making available relevant data, enhancing public awareness, and educating the populace about environmental significance. A range of organizations are responsible for environmental management and monitoring, from local grassroots entities to centralized institutions at the national level. Examples of this range include: village administrations; environment management and monitoring units at district, provincial, and ministerial levels; and the Science Technology and Environment Agency. Emphasizing community involvement, the Environment Protection Law (Article 5, Section 8) highlights the importance of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) engaging local administrations, mass organizations, and those potentially impacted by development projects or activities.

According to Chapter 6 of the Decree on Climate Change (2019), and Article 23, public engagement is crucial for all activities related to strategy development, vulnerability assessment, adaptation, mitigation and monitoring. This is important for all people directly or indirectly affected by climate change. Article 24 notes that it is the responsibility of all sectors of society to participate in climate change education, including curriculum development for different education levels and institutions. The government also encourages awareness-raising efforts and campaigns on climate change at important public events. 

The Social Environmental Education & Development (SEED) Unit is a group of student volunteers from the Faculty of Environmental Sciences at the National University of Laos, together with the Natural Resources and Environmental Promotion Unit. They are involved in promoting environmental awareness raising and sustainable development across Lao society.

According to the National Strategy on Climate Change of the Lao PDR (2021), a key aspect of the country’s vision for 2050 and Strategy to 2030 is to ‘Create an enabling environment for policy framework, social dialogue and public participation, financial and technical including scientific data and knowledge preparedness, and readiness and accessibility to promote and leverage climate change management.’ (p.17).


I) Country monitoring

Article 31 of the Decree on Climate Change empowers the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to rigorously monitor climate change in the country. The Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) states that:

Monitoring procedures for every mitigation measure are introduced in Annex 1. The Department of Climate Change from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) is responsible for the overall measurement, reporting and verification of the mitigation objectives. The capacity development plan will be extended throughout the next 5-year period with a focus on greenhouse gas accounting and monitoring. For enhanced transparency and consistency, in this new submission, all quantitative targets have been formulated using a single unit, average ktCO2e/y between 2020 and 2030. (p.16)

The Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) establish national coordination mechanisms and guidance on monitoring. It states that:

Climate change management and monitoring organizations include the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment and the District Office of Natural Resources and Environment. Local natural resources and environment sectors will report on the climate change situation of their respective localities to their higher authorities, in coordination with relevant departments, offices and parties concerned. (p.15)

Article 37 of the Environmental Protection Law (2013) outlines the rights and responsibilities of ministerial units overseeing environmental management and monitoring. The law specifies that if a ministry is mandated to establish its own specialized entity for environmental management and monitoring, it is imperative for the ministry to collaborate closely with the Science, Technology, and Environment Agency. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment works in close partnership with local and international agencies in relation to monitoring and evaluation.

In order to monitor environmental and climate change-related activities the Government of Lao PDR established the Laos Disaster Information Management (LaoDi) system under a UNDP-supported project that is based on the Desinventar System. The system is a conceptual and methodological tool for the generation of national disaster inventories and the construction of databases of damage and losses, and the overall impacts and effects of disasters. The system serves as a repository for disaster information at the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. The Laos Disaster Information Management System (LaoDi), which is based on the Desinventer System, ensures that information can be located and updated on a centralized platform that is accessible to government agencies and the public. It is also a conceptual and methodological tool for the generation of national disaster inventories of disaster damage and losses in the country. The Laos Disaster Information Management System (LaoDi) captures disaggregated data about disasters and their impacts at national, local, village and sectoral levels. This facilitates the assessment of the impacts of disasters, allowing the government and other stakeholders to identify the most disaster-prone areas for risk reduction interventions.

The National Meteorological Service (NMS) is a key tool for monitoring climate-related activities. Its main goals is to provide weather and climate-related services within the country. Originally established as the NMS, its role expanded in 1976 to include hydrological tasks, leading to it being renamed the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH). In 1997, the DMH also assumed responsibility for monitoring earthquakes. 

Activity 6.4 of the Technology Action Plan for Climate Change Mitigation (2018) relates to the need to apply the best technologies for monitoring environmental changes. The technology action plan contains criteria and indicators for monitoring implementation, such as: the action plans for sustainable community forest management; action plans for climate mitigation in the agriculture sector; assessment of the measures to include in the technology action plan for climate change mitigation in the agriculture sector; project ideas for climate change mitigation in the forestry sector; and defining schedules and costs of technology action plan for climate change mitigation in different sectors.

Regarding issues related to climate change, the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) is responsible for providing governmental decision-makers with scientific insights. It is also designated as a key player in implementing the Strategy on Climate Change of the Lao PDR (2010), which includes the National Adaptation Programme of Actions (NAPA) (2009). As part of the climate change adaptation programme in Lao PDR, the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology supplies hydrometeorological data, forecasts, warnings and seasonal climate outlooks.

The World Health Organization supports establishing an early warning and response system for climate-sensitive diseases, integrating weather data within the health management information system.

The country’s Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL) estimates the amount of future emissions and removals of forest-related greenhouse gases. The National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) includes information such as satellite imagery, forest-type maps, forest-change maps and national forest inventories. A function has already been installed to apply this data to calculate the area of interest by forest type, CO2 emissions and removal, as well as changes in each of these, both nationwide and by province. Laos also has a Safeguards Information System (SIS), which is a comprehensive framework that combines existing systems and information sources with new components to address and ensure compliance with all Cancun safeguards during the execution of activities related to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing countries, as part of climate change mitigation efforts. 

With regards to SDG monitoring, Laos ranks 115 out of 166 countries, with a country score of 63.0%. This is lower than the regional average of 67.2%. Regarding SDG13, the Sustainable Development Reports (2023) mentions that CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production (tCO2/capita) have been decreasing by 2.8%. However, CO2 emissions embodied in imports (tCO2/capita) have been increasing by 0.4%.

The New Atlas, a valuable source of scientific climate data in Lao PDR and which was produced with GEF funding, has been released. The atlas strengthens climate monitoring and agricultural information systems to enhance adaptation to climate change and food security, under the SAMIS project of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The atlas offers a user-friendly platform that simplifies complex climate data, catering to the information needs of policymakers and decision-makers. It utilizes the country’s’ weather data, which is made available through advanced weather databases such as Laos Climate Services for Agriculture (LaCSA). This data management capacity, developed with the support of different partners, ensures the sustainability of the model. Climate data in map format can also be accessed through the Land Resources Information Management System (LRIMS).

II) MECCE Project Monitoring

The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined the Laos Primary Curriculum Framework (2018) for references to ‘climate change’, ‘sustainability’, ‘education for sustainable development’, ‘biodiversity’, ‘environment’ and the ‘ecosystem.’

The National Curriculum Framework of Laos PDR mentions ‘sustainable development’ and ‘ecosystem’ once each and ‘climate change’ twice. 

This section will be updated as the MECCE Project develops.