The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Asian Institute of Technology and the British High Commission established a partnership with Lao PDR’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) for the organisation of the First Seminar on Green Growth Policy Tools For Low Carbon Development in Champasak Province, Lao PDR with funding from the UK’s Prosperity Fund. The sessions on the 18th and 19th of February were held for the benefit of the local Champasak government and were attended by 29 participants from the provincial government and 17 from the central government. In addition, a training of trainers session was held in Vientiane on the 21st of February and was attended by over 35 policy makers from various governments ministries including the Ministries of Industry and Commerce, Energy and Mines, Agriculture and Forestry, Planning and Investment, Industry and Commerce, Foreign Affairs, Ministry Information, Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
These two seminars built on the interactive ESCAP methodology, involving animated e-learning courses and a virtual library, as well as case studies and group activities moderated by the trainers were crafted to encourage participants to reflect on how “green growth” policies might be “mainstreamed” in their particular sector. The Training of Trainers Seminar provided an introduction to the “Low Carbon Green Growth Roadmap”, and is followed by a four-week, self-paced, e-learning phase using a dedicated Online Facility , providing an easy to navigate knowledge and experience sharing platform for green growth practitioners. Graduates of the course will become members of an on-line green growth community.
The Green Growth Policy Tools for Low Carbon Development seminars and the Green Growth on-line e-Learning facility are designed to enhance the ability and skills of key decision-makers from the recipient countries to devise various green growth/green economy policy responses for fostering a low carbon development, amidst tackling more effectively the issues of resource efficiency, environmental sustainability, poverty reduction and climate.
The opening seminar in Champasak included remarks from His Excellency Mr. Philip Malone, UK Ambassador to Lao PDR, Mme. Keobanga A Keola, Director General of the Department of Pollution Control-MoNRE, Dr.Bounthong Divixay, Deputy Governor of Champasak Province andMr. Rae Kwon Chung, Director of the Environment and Development Division of ESCAP.
His Excellency Mr. Philip Malone noted that “climate change is happening now in South East Asia and the region is likely to suffer greatly with a predicted loss of 6.7% of combined GDP each year by 2100, more than twice the world average. The region has great mitigation potential, particularly in forestry, energy and agriculture, and a great opportunity to start the transition to a low-carbon economy. The Government of Laos has already approved a National Strategy on Climate Change in March 2010 by focusing on the main domestic priorities such as agriculture and food security, forestry and land use change, water and energy.Climate change issues have already been streamlined in the 7th National Socio-Economic Development Plan that will run until 2015. Collaboration between the UK, UNESCAP and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Lao PDR will give policy makers practical ideas on how to develop a green growth economy.”
The opening session included a presentation on the UN approach to “Low Carbon Green Growth Policy Tools for Asia and the Pacific” by Mr. Rae Kwon Chung. Mr. Chung re-iterated that “countries in the region are re-assessing the sustainability of their growth patterns which are threatened by resource constraints, increasing prices and the effects of climate change. This is viewed as an excellent opportunity to re-orient their economic growth to a more resource, carbon and energy efficient pattern.Lao PDR has the opportunity to grow its economy via a new development path that focuses on eco-efficiency and investment in human and natural capital. The Low Carbon Green Growth Roadmap provides the tools necessary to follow a new paradigm of Green Growth and modify the way we produce and consume, hence change the way we operate our economy.”
During the opening session Mme. Keobanga A Keola, Director General of the Department of Pollution Control-MoNRE, said that “since Lao PDR attended the Rio+20 UN meeting 20 years ago in Brazil, the country has encouraged environmental development as tool for country development, together with environment protection. The department of pollution control, as well as MoNRE work with many sectors such as mining, energy, transportation, industry and agriculture in promoting waste reduction and using natural resources adequately.”
The participants joining the on-line e-learning facility are given access to a world-wide green growth/green economy community of practice. Once certified, the status of National Green growth champion and Trainer of trainers are given, allowing for further outreach and continuous capacity building through unlimited access to the online materials and resources.
In order to ensure that continuous training will be delivered to prospective participants in the future, ESCAP established a National Green Growth e-Learning Node in Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, which will be responsible for delivering such training over the next three years.