On December 18th, 2012, the WCS Lao program signed a six year agreement with the Lao Department of Forestry to support the implementation of the Lao – GermanClimate Protection through Avoided Deforestation (CliPAD) project in Houaphan Province. Under this agreement, WCS will provide technical services related to REDD+ safeguards, national protected area (NPA) management, law enforcement strategy development and general REDD+ readiness support.
CliPAD is a €14 million development project of the Federal Republic of Germany that provides both technical and financial support to the Government of Laos to establish REDD+ demonstration activities that are both ‘pro-poor’ and benefit biodiversity. CliPAD has selected Houaphan Province as one of its target sites, which is where the Nam Et-Phou Louey (NEPL) NPA is sited.
In Houaphan Province, CliPAD aims to establisha jurisdictional REDD+ program under the third-party Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ (JNR) requirements. Jurisdictional REDD+programs are a new approach to REDD+ which, to date, have typically focused at the project level. Jurisdictional REDD+ operates at the level of an administrative unit (e.g. national or provincial) and more intimately involves government agencies in both strategy development and implementation of mitigation activities. Besides establishing the necessary provincial level strategies, frameworks and institutions, CliPAD will also direct investments at forty villages in Houameuang District to demonstrate on-the-ground approaches to reducing forest-based greenhouse gas emissions.
The NEPL NPA covers a large portion of Houaphan Province, and its effective management is, therefore, a crucial component of the overall CliPAD strategy. Under the agreement, WCS agreed to upscale its activities in the NEPL NPA with additional funding made available by CliPAD. Additionally, WCS will make its law enforcement and in-house REDD+ expertise available to CliPAD to help it achieve its project goals. In the long-term, WCS is interested to see this project become a model for how REDD+ can be used as a sustainable financing mechanism to protect biodiversity and livelihoods both in Lao PDR and globally.