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Deputy PM Calls for Stronger Environmental Protection

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The Environment Protection Fund (EPF) has to be reformed as a stronger permanent government organisation so it can continuously and effectively implement its function.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mr. Somdy Duangdy relayed this message in his address at the annual EPF Stakeholder meeting held yesterday in Vientiane.

EPF has to be reformed to be a permanent government organisation, to continuously and effectively implement its function, in accordance to the national laws and donor policy, Mr. Somdy said.

He mentioned the national situation, which he said had a number of unresolved problems, especially the impacts generated by development projects although the management of natural resources and the environment had been gradually strengthened in recent years.

The deputy PM said natural resources were continuing to be degraded and needed proper conservation, especially forestry, biodiversity, and water resources to reverse the trend.

According to a report disseminated at the meeting, around 24.5 billion kip has been mobilised for the fund this year from various donors, while revenue from mining companies had yet to meet the targeted plan, due to slow coordination .

The fund incurred numerous activity expenses which included project monitoring, consultation, training, equipment, and sponsorship.

Mr. Somdy said the EPF has strengthened its institutional and human capacity to implement financial management of the natural resources and environment sector in recent years, and had consequently contributed to effective national socio-economic development.

However, he said the operation of the EPF was limited in terms of scope and funding and a number of problems were yet to be resolved, adding that the EPF had to contribute to the country’s natural resources and environment management sector objectives, especially in financing.

In addition, the EPF has to cooperate with all stakeholders to broaden its operation with local and international partners to translate in depth the sector plan and implement it effectively, contributing increasingly to the implementation of the natural resources and environment sector, and national development.

The deputy PM thanked all donors for their financial and technical assistance provided to the EPF, in particular the World Bank, Theun Hinboun Hydropower Company, Nam Ngiep 1 Hydropower Company and mining projects.

The EPF plans to support 33 biodiversity projects next year, 15 sub-projects on pollution control, three water source management projects, and will continue providing funds to 10 provinces for land management.

 

Source: Vientiane Times