WB finances Laos for sustainable forest management

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VIENTIANE, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) — The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved five million U.S. dollars in additional financing to the Scaling-Up Participatory Sustainable Forest Management Project, which will help the Laos improve sustainable forest management, community livelihoods and climate change mitigation.

This additional financing, sealed on Tuesday will help Laos to manage its production forests, and the villages that depend on them, in support of a greener, more inclusive and sustainable pattern of economic growth, a press release from WB Lao country office quoted Nicola Pontara, WB Country Manager for Laos as saying on Wednesday, “This is consistent with the aspiration of the Lao authorities to prioritize development support to poor villages.”

The project has achieved significant results since 2013, boosting livelihoods in more than 650 forest-dependent villages in 13 provinces out of Laos’ 18 provincial administrative divisions; and improving the planning and management of 41 of the country’s 51 Production Forest Areas, covering 2.3 million hectares. This remarkable progress has been instrumental to reduce deforestation and the associated carbon emissions, said the WB press release.

Since the original project started, new economic opportunities in sustainable forest management have emerged not only for villages but also for the private sector. Realizing this potential will require additional financial and technical support, especially on areas related to community engagement and governance issues.

“The additional financing for this project will help strengthen the governance of natural resources through more sustainable forest management. It will also create new exciting opportunities for private sector investments,” said Stephen Danyo, WB Senior Environmental Specialist in Laos.

The additional funding comes from the WB International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, which helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve lives, according to the release issued on Wednesday.

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