On November 24th the Provincial REDD+ Office of Houaphan invited all province and district level stakeholders to Xam Neua’s cultural hall to present and discuss the Provincial REDD+ Action Plan (PRAP). The workshop was attended by about 150 people, amongst others, members of the REDD+ Task Force, chaired by the vice-governor Mr. Phanhthong Phetxaysomphanh of Houaphan province, director generals of all provincial departments including the Department of Planning and Investment (PDPI), Agriculture and Forestry (PAFO), Natural Resources and Environment (PONRE), Energy and Mines, Public Works and Transportation, Military, the Lao Women Union (LWU), the Lao Front for National Construction (LFNC), heads of Planning and Cooperation divisions, vice-governors of all ten districts as well as the District REDD+ Action Plan Units (DAFO, DONRE, DPI).
Provincial REDD+ Action Plans (PRAP) are plans which are designed to guide the implementation of Policies, Actions and Measures (PAM) to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. In other words, PRAPs can be seen as a tool to design and guide the implementation of REDD+ activities at provincial and local level. PRAPs will be developed in the six provinces that have been selected for the country´s Emission Reductions Program under the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund. Lao PDR has been accepted into the FCPF Carbon in late 2015 and has to prepare its Emission Reductions Program Document (ER-PD), which must be submitted to the FCPF Carbon Fund, by early 2018. Thus, in this sense the PRAPs can be seen as a building block providing concrete plans which together will serve as the foundation for the country´s Emission Reductions Program in order to receive REDD+ performance-based payments.
The workshop aimed to outline the PRAP development process which has been agreed upon during the first consultations in mid-2016 and present the outcomes of the two rounds of district consultations. As a pilot province, Houaphan is also the first province in Lao PDR to develop a PRAP and the other five provinces under the Emission Reductions Program will follow the approach applied in Houaphan. Besides a provincial consultation workshop to agree upon the approach the PRAP development process at district level was divided into two rounds of consultations. The first round of consultations was organised by the PRAP working group in August 2016. Joint meetings with DRAP (District REDD+ Action Plan) Units and relevant line agencies were held in Meuang Hiam, Xam Neua, Xienkhor and Xamtai to discuss the ToR of DRAP units., drivers of deforestation and forest degradation how to address them. Moreover, hotspot village clusters (Kumbans) were identified in each district for village level consultations. For the second round of consultations in October, the PRAP working group with support from CliPAD formed two teams. The teams spent three days in each district. They discussed and identified most relevant drivers of deforestation and forest degradation through group work exercise with all relevant line agencies on the first day. The results served as the basis for the second day to develop measures to address those most relevant drivers identified. Finally, village cluster consultations were held on the third day to collect village level inputs on drivers and measures most relevant from their perspective. The village cluster consultations were held in local languages and in smaller groups according to gender and language
The PRAP of Houaphan province is aligned to the provincial 8th Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) and designed to achieve emission reductions to serve the Emission Reductions program under the Carbon Fund. Payments will only be made if emission reductions are achieved and verified. Thus, there is the need to develop a realistic implementation plan combined with detailed financial and operational planning.
PRAPs are developed using a participatory process based on consultations with broad stakeholders from different key sectors (e.g. agriculture, forestry, planning and investment, energy and mining etc.) These actors should have a sense of ownership to the PRAP and support not only its planning process but also take responsibility for future implementation.