Vientiane Times, 26 October 2012
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank Group that focuses on private sector development, and the World Bank are supporting Laos as it revises the water resource law.
The objective of the revision is to help foster the sustainable management of Laos’ abundant water resources.
The revisions will improve water regulation to ensure sufficient supply for the people of Laos and the development of the country’s hydropower sector.
According to a press release from IFC, the World Bank, and the Department of Water Resources under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment co-hosted a conference on the issue in Vientiane yesterday.
The meeting was attended by Lao civil society groups, international organisations, and development partners. Participants offered contributions to the revision of the Law on Water and Water Resources.
“Proper water management is important to protect the environment, to preserve water usage for communities, and for economic purposes,” said Director General of the Department of Water Resources, Mr Chanthanet Boualapha.
“We are seeking input from the public to ensure that the new law will serve the needs of all water users for many years to come.”
The Lao government has identified the development of natural resources- based sectors, particularly hydropower, as a key way to achieve national economic growth and graduate from the group of least developed countries by 2020. IFC’s assistance is focused on improving the ways in which hydropower is developed and managed.
“IFC assistance to the government in developing national water resource policy and strategy and revising the Law on Water and Water Resources will help to ensure that the right policies are in place, so that the hydropower sector will be harnessed in an environmentally and socially sustainable manne r,” said IFC Resident Representative in Laos, Aimilios Chatzinikolaou.
The World Bank’s support aims to strengthen legal, institutional, and human resource frameworks to implement integrated water resource management in Laos.
“Integrated water resource management in the Mekong River Basin is at a critical juncture, mainly because of the growing pressure for increased utilisation of water resources to sustain regional economic growth,” said World Bank Country Manager in Laos, Ms Keiko Miwa.
“For integrated water resource management to be implemented in practice, capacity in river basin management and planning need urgently to be strengthened. Having adequate institutional and human resources at the national level will be critical to implementing integrated water resource management effectively.”
The Lao government aims to submit the new Law on Water and Water Resources to the National Assembly for consideration in December 2013.