Laos' Prime Minister affirms that his country will implement a strategic plan that will make it one of the nations playing an important role in helping to reduce global warming by reforesting and promoting sustainable natural resources utilization.
Mr. Bouasone Bouphavanh made the assertion on World Environment Day, June 05, 2009. The Prime Minister said that the Lao government and its people are proud to be included among the 30 nations of the world who will participate in a forest management program that is designed to systematically reduce the problem of global warming. To implement its strategic plan, he said, Laos will increase its reforestation efforts and, in doing so, recover the richness of its' forests so that they can help absorb carbon dioxide that is released into the earth atmosphere by industrial factories and vehicles and contributing to global warming.
Laos has set its reforestation goal of increasing its forest acreages to 70% of the country's total land area by 2020, as well as to utilize its natural resources, be it water or forest, in a sustainable manner.
The Lao Prime Minister also confirmed that his country will promote investment in environment-friendly industries and the utilization of clean energy through consistent cooperation and coordination with the international community, both bilaterally and unilaterally. The Lao government will also implement every agreement and convention that it has signed, he added.
Laos is considered one of the countries that release the least carbon dioxide into the air because it is not an industrialized nation, and the very few factories it has are small-sized. But since Laos has lost a lot of its forests, currently covering only 40% of its area, it has an important role to play in reducing global warming effects.
However, international natural resources conservation groups are concerned that Laos' ability in this effort will be lessened because, over 30 years, Laos' forest density has been reduced dramatically, mainly as a result of official land concessions, illegal and over quota logging activities. Land concessions for mining projects as well as hydro-power dam constructions for electricity export are two other factors contributing to widespread deforestation in Laos. All of this will no doubt further contribute to the reduction in the density of Laos' forest areas.
Songrit Pongern reported from Bangkok on June 17, 2009. Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao. (English translation by Buasawan Simmala and Dara Baccam.)