Employment Promotion

Lao PDR explores linkages between rural employment and climate change

ILO training workshop highlights climate change challenge to long-term prospects and planning for increased rural employment in Lao PDR

Press release | 07 August 2018
VIENTIANE (ILO News) – “Understanding the links between climate change and decent rural employment opportunities for the majority of the population is critical to delivering our 8th Lao PDR National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NESDP) and our commitment to graduate from Least Developed Country status” said Mr. Khornsy Mahavong, Deputy Director-General for Skills and Employment of the Lao PDR Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) on 18 July.

Mr. Khornsy Mahavong addressed representatives from seven ministries as well as trade unions, businesses, women’s and youth organizations gathered at a national workshop on climate change and rural employment. The workshop was convened jointly by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MOLSW) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), with funding from Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) in Vientiane on 18 July.

“Considering 74 percent of Lao PDR’s population is in vulnerable employment in rural areas, many of whom with seasonal jobs, addressing the impact of climate change, be it mitigation or adaptation, is critical.” Says ILO employment specialist Ms. Makiko Matsumoto.

Led by Ms. Gabrielle Iglesias, climate change specialist, the workshop shed light on climate change concepts, trends, issues and responses.

“The objective of the workshop was to understand the implications of climate change for the development of a national rural employment strategy,” explained Ms. Khemphone Phaokhamkeo, ILO National Coordinator in Lao PDR. “This is the first time such a discussion had happened in Lao PDR.  The strategy which will guide national rural employment creation efforts until 2030 must respond to the challenges brought by climate change.’

Mr.Souphasay Kormany, Director of Climate Change Division of Climate Change Management of Lao PDR Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) underlined potential impacts in areas such as agricultural production, health, infrastructure, poverty reduction efforts and labour migration.

“The cumulative economic damages caused by more intense and frequent disasters, such as floods and droughts are daunting. Many people in rural areas are already at higher risk of poverty, food insecurity and loss of assets and livelihood.” Mr. Kormany said, adding that Lao PDR’s national policies will include strategies to promote climate change adaption, green growth and disaster preparation and management, in line with its international commitments.

The discussions held during the workshop highlighted the importance of improved climate change information, long-term planning, stronger policy coordination across sectors, international cooperation, gender implications, and the need to mainstream relevant skills into education and training,  and to promote climate resilient economic development models.

The development of the national rural employment strategy includes an extensive process of consultations with all of Lao PDR’s provinces. The final version will go to Cabinet for adoption in the end of 2018.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the United Nations specialized agency dedicated to labour issues. Within a unique tripartite structure it brings together governments, employers and workers representatives to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. In Lao People Democratic Republic, the tripartite constituents are represented by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the Lao Federation of Trade Unions, and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

For more information please contact:

Ms. Khemphone Phaokhamkeo
ILO National Coordinator in Lao PDR
Tel: +856 20 5662 1760