VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): The governments of Laos and Germany have agreed to implement the third phase of the bilateral technical cooperation project “Protection and Sustainable Use of Forest Ecosystems and Biodiversity (ProFEB)’’.
This joint project will support good forest governance, effective protected area management, environmental education, and curb illegal wildlife trade during the next three years.
While the leading Lao implementation partner is the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the 8 million EUR project is working in close collaboration with concerned sectors and offices in Khammuan province.
The project is implemented together with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
This third phase of the project began in May 2021 and will continue until June 2024.
Director General of the Department of Forest Inspection, Somphone Keohavong, signed the implementation agreement representing the Lao partners on Thursday.
The signing was witnessed by Dr Christina Seeberg-Elverfeldt, Head of German Development Cooperation, German Embassy to Laos, as well as high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Speaking at the signing event, Somphone said “This agreement reflects our ongoing commitment and strengthened bilateral cooperation between the governments of Laos and Germany.”
“In the period 2010 to 2021, in which the project and its predecessor projects supported the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity, Laos has made significant progress towards achieving forest cover of 70 per cent.
"Together, authorities and non-state actors have improved conditions for the sustainable management of forest resources and biodiversity. State institutions have gained access to additional know-how, and local communities have gained greater control over natural resources and achieved more secure living conditions.”
Dr Seeberg-Elverfeldt said “We are glad to see how much progress the Lao government has made towards the attainment of the aim to sustainably manage forests, biodiversity and natural resources over the last years.”
“With our contribution of 8 million EUR to this critical project, we want to firmly anchor our achievements with our partners and provide capacities among different stakeholders to sustainably continue initiated processes.”
The ProFEB project will continue supporting the Lao government for better framework conditions and strengthening the capacity of the Lao government, private sector, and civil society towards the sustainable management of forest resources and biodiversity.
In addition, the project will help to establish conditions that allow people in Laos to benefit from intact ecosystems.
This third phase of the project builds on the results of preceding projects, which have laid the foundations for a Voluntary Partnership Agreement between Laos and the EU on the legal timber trade.
The project is continuing to establish an inclusive management system in the Hin Nam No National Park and raise the level of environmental knowledge among the project’s government and civil society partners.