Vientiane Times, 1 August 2013
Key actors involved in resource development in the Nam Ngum River Basin gathered in Vientiane yesterday to discuss resource pressures and food security in the river basin.
The main goal of the workshop was to understand the effects of large-scale resource based development projects such as hydropower, mining, agriculture and forestry plantations, which directly and indirectly affect local food security and livelihood practices amongst the most vulnerable rural groups in the area.
Through the workshop, all participants shared different understandings of the issue, approaches to studying and dealing with them, and potential for collaboration in both research and solution seeking.
The ultimate goal is to achieve sustainable development outcomes and elevated conditions of human wellbeing in the river basin.
Natural resource management and livelihoods of local people in the basin is a crucial issue the country should deal with in the future, said the National University of Laos Vice President, Assoc. Prof. Dr Saykhong Saynasin.
Resource based development such as hydropower, mining and forestry plantations should have proper planning and measures of sustainability, he said.
“As we know, the country is currently focusing on socio-economic development and is concerned with issues relating to water, food, land, health and their potential for economy and society. Those are the main issues we are waiting for findings on from researchers and scientists,” Dr Saykhong said.
This project workshop reviewed the current state of knowledge on intensified resource use, livelihood and food security, and nutrition in the river basin and provided a platform for various stakeholders to exchange infor mation and to develop an overview of the situation.
Secondly, it introduced a framework for exploring ways of dealing with key linkages between resource pressures and human wellbeing in the river basin through ongoing work funded by Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR).
The aim is to discover how the ACIAR funded project can approach the issue of increased resource pressures and their implications for food security and other aspects of human wellbeing.
Thirdly, it studied the opportunities and challenges of the ACIAR research project and indentified potential areas of collaboration with different actors.
The objective was to gauge different participants’ interests and roles in the research to identify common concerns and find ways in which different initiatives can work in a mutually supportive way and improve understanding of the main issues.