In 2012 the Water and Wetlands Programme of IUCN Lao PDR started a Ramsar Small Grants Fund project aimed at developing capacity and knowledge around wetland conservation.
As part of the project, IUCN Lao organised events, meetings and workshops, translated and distributed key documents illustrating the importance of wetlands and the work of the Ramsar ConventionA regional workshop on wetlands governance was organised, with over 40 participants representing the governments of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, India and Bangladesh, as well as local NGOs and Ramsar Site Managers. Participants had the opportunity to share their experiences in wetland management, and many examples of good practices included a strong involvement of the local community.
Events were also organised for World Wetlands Day 2013 at two Ramsar Sites, the Xe Champhone Wetlands and the Beung Kiat Ngong Wetlands. Over 350 stakeholders participated, including village leaders, local officials, students, teachers, as well as members of the religious community. The events addressed topics related to the value and role of wetlands for the community, such as the importance of water for livelihoods and how to maintain healthy wetlands and clean water.
|Children participating in a WWD awareness raising activity|
IUCN Lao also organized a Ramsar Steering Committee meeting to enhance understanding about the Convention and to define roles and responsibilities of each Committee member.
Two workshops were held in Savannakhet and Champassak to train local officials and other Ramsar Provincial Committee Members on wetland conservation and on the objective and scope of the Ramsar Convention.
|Group activity during the workshop on wetland governance|
A further two workshops were conducted at the local level at the Beung Kiat Ngong Ramsar Site and at the Xe Champone Ramsar Site to draft regulation documents, including information related to Site boundaries, protected zones and seasonally protected zones. While the Ramsar Steering Committee has approved the regulation document for the Beung Kiat Ngong Ramsar Site, the Xe Champone document is still being drafted. Once drafted, it will be shared with local stakeholders, NGOs and government officials. Additionally, IUCN Lao also assisted in drafting the Prime Minister’s Decree on Ramsar Sites in Lao, expected to be endorsed in 2014.
|A comic strip illustrating the importance of wetlands translated into Lao language.|