The GCF project “Building resilience of urban populations with ecosystem-based solutions in Lao PDR” aims to test an alternative approach to flood control in urban Laos, moving away from a traditional focus on grey infrastructure, such as dams and concrete drainage systems, and towards Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA). A consortium led by FutureWater was hired by MONRE to develop and apply hydrological and hydraulic models for four urban catchments in Lao PDR, as well as associated remote sensing analyses and climate risk assessments. These models and tools will help to create different flood risk scenarios based on the current and projected climate and land use changes, and to identify cost-effective EbA options. Capacity building sessions with MONRE and NUOL experts are organized to ensure sustainable uptake of the models.

Urban flood management in Laos is typically based on a limited, hard infrastructure approach. With the aim to shift this paradigm towards an integrated approach that enhances climate resilience, the project “Building resilience of urban populations with ecosystem-based solutions in Lao PDR” was approved by the Green Climate Fund Board in November 2019 with a GCF grant of US$10 million. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) serves as the Accredited Entity for the project. Activities are executed by the State of Lao PDR through the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) as well as UNEP. The project is implemented across five years (2020-2025) covering four provincial capitals in the country: Vientiane, Paksan, Savannakhet, and Pakse.

One component of the project involves technical and institutional capacity building to plan, design, implement and maintain integrated urban Ecosystems-based Adaptation (EbA) interventions for the reduction of climate change induced flooding. As a part of Integrated Climate-resilient Flood Management Strategy (ICFMS) development, the project conducts hydrological, hydraulic and climate risk assessments to inform climate change adaptation solutions for risk reduction in Vientiane, Paksan, Savannakhet and Pakse.

A consortium of FutureWater, Mekong Modelling Associates (MMA) and Lao Consulting Group (LCG) was contracted by MONRE to implement the related activities. FutureWater leads and coordinates this assignment and contributes remote sensing analyses with state-of-the-art innovative tools, climate risk assessments, and training activities. To ensure sustainability and effective technology transfer, the modelling and mapping infrastructure and trained staff will be hosted within MONRE and a knowledge hub that is established within the National University of Laos.