Finnish Lao support to focus on hydro
As Finland completes the first phase of its environmental support programme in Laos, the Foreign Ministry is contemplating an extension. The Foreign Ministry is commissioning an evaluation of the Environmental Management Support Project (EMSP).
The Finnish-supported EMSP, which started in 2010, was a continuation of the Strengthening Environmental Management (SEM) that received Swedish support during 2001-2010.
The Swedes had focused on developing environmental policies and strategies and building of environmental management capacity at central and provincial level. The EMSP, with a budget of EUR 9.5 million over five years, concentrated on building capacity in monitoring and strategic environmental analysis as a way of helping the Lao government meet its stated goal of “strong environmental management ... to support ... sustainable development and poverty eradication”.
The ministry now announces a tender for a final evaluation of the programme, which winds up next September. The ministry would like to extend EMSP for another phase, but on a smaller scale and with a tighter focus.
Environmental governance has been identified as a potential focus area for the next phase. A particular area of concern for the Finnish Foreign Ministry, which is also a major funder of the Mekong River Commission, is Laos’ role as an upstream Mekong economy whose rapid natural resource-based growth is highly likely to have increasing transboundary impacts in the future.
The ministry notes that Laos has “the largest hydropower potential of the basin. The consequences of inadequate environmental planning do not respect borders, which in Laos’ case must be paid specific attention to.”
The deadline for submitting tenders for this evaluation is January 20, 2014.