Overarching responsibility for high-level coordination of REDD+ policy-making in Lao PDR rests with the National Environmental Committee, a committee consisting of Ministers of all Government Ministries and chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister. Direct coordination of activities rests with the REDD+ Task Force, which consists of high-level officials from a broad range of relevant Government departments-including forestry, land, finance, mining and planning-and chaired by the head of the Department of Forestry. The REDD+ Task Force is currently responsible for coordinating, facilitating and promoting all REDD+ activities in the country (MAF, 2011). The REDD+ Task Force is empowered to establish technical working groups. A National REDD+ Office is intended to be established in the near term consisting of full-time staff dedicated to direct management of REDD+ activities, but as of February 2013 is not yet in existence (FCPF, 2012). In the meantime, a provisional REDD+ Office has been established within the Department of Forestry (DOF), though this office does not have far-reaching capacities.
Direct responsibility for REDD+ activities within Ministries is shared between the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF). MONRE is responsible for REDD+ in Protection and Conservation Forests, with direct responsibility allocated to the Department of Forest Resource Management (DFRM), whose powers were spelled out in the Decision Regarding the Organization and Activities of the Department of Forest Resource Management 2012. Other departments of MONRE also have responsibilities directly relevant to REDD+. These include the National Land Management Authority (NLMA), which is responsible for land zoning, allocation and titling, and the Management and Coordination Division, which acts as the UNFCCC Focal Point. MAF is responsible for Production Forest and non-state forest areas under village management, with direct responsibility allocated to DOF (FCPF, 2012). Other relevant departments of MAF include the Department of Forest Inspection (DOFI), which is responsible for inspection and enforcement of forest-related regulations.
MONRE was formed only in late 2011, and as of early 2013 its organizational set-up remains in progress, while capacities remain limited. DFRM, for its part, was established only in May 2012. As such, the majority of day-to-day coordination of REDD+ is undertaken by DOF, together with the REDD+ Task Force. It is nonetheless expected that MONRE will play a larger role once its organization and staffing are complete.
Provincial, district and village authorities also play an important role in REDD+ implementation in Lao PDR. Provincial, District and Village Administration Authorities are charged with implementing decisions and laws at their respective levels, while provincial authorities may also authorise the conversion of degraded or barren forestland up to 100 hectares and 200 hectares, respectively. and are generally structured in a similar way to the central government, with specific offices or authorities in charge of overseeing respective policy areas. The local structure for land management consists of Provincial Land Management Authorities (PLMAs), District Land Management Authorities (DLMAs) and Village Land Units (VLUs). The local structure for forest management consists of Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Offices (PAFOs), District Agriculture and Forestry Offices (DAFOs) and Village Forest Units (VFUs).
International and bilateral institutions and donor agencies directly involved in REDD+ readiness activities in Laos include the World Bank, German Development Cooperation (GIZ, KfW, BMZ), the Government of Finland, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Government of Japan, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and International Finance Corporation (IFC). NGOs and consultancy firms involved in supporting REDD+ activities and initiating pilots on the ground include Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, Winrock International, Climate Focus, the Global Association for People and the Environment (GAPE), Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and the local Lao Biodiversity Association. They in turn receive financial support from numerous donor agencies
Private enterprises exploring REDD+ projects in Laos at present include New Chip Xeng Co., Vangveun Trading Co., Prime Invest Co., Stora Enso, Oji Paper Co., Arcadia Investment Management Corporation, Indochina Resort Group, Green Planet JSC and Kyoto Energy Co. (Ounekham, 2011). The Land Issues Working Group (LIWG), a network of NGOs, works to enhance community ownership of land and natural resources in Lao PDR. Various international consulting firms are involved in REDD+ feasibility studies and readiness activities. The National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), the National University of Laos (NUOL) and a consortium of international universities and research agencies conduct REDD-related research in Laos.
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FOREST CARBON PARTNERSHIP FACILITY. 2012. REDD Readiness Progress Fact Sheet, Country: Lao PDR. Available here [Accessed February 2013].
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY. 2012. Annual Review of REDD+ Activities in Lao PDR 2011. Available here [Accessed February 2013].
OUNEKHAM, K. 2011. Current REDD+ Status in Lao PDR. Presentation in Workshop “Linking forest communities to the voluntary carbon market: Private sector engagement on REDD+ in Lao PDR”, 1 July 2011, Vientiane. Department of Forestry, MAF, Lao PDR. Available here [Accessed February 2013].