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IFC Supports Lao Government in Strengthening Management of Water Resources

Vientiane, Lao PDR, June 13, 2013 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is supporting the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in revising its water law to foster equitable and sustainable management of water resources.
After 18 months of consultations and revisions, IFC and the Department of Water Resources of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment presented a revised draft of the water law at a public consultation in Vientiane today. More than 80 representatives from civil society, international organizations, and the private sector attended and made comments on the draft law.
Increasing competition between different water users has made it necessary to revamp the Law on Water and Water Resources to improve management of water resources. “Conditions have changed since 1996, when the current water law was first introduced. The level of development is different now than it was back then, and now we see a lot of commercial developments in different sectors, including hydropower,” said Chanthanet Boualapha, director general of the Department of Water Resources.
IFC, in partnership with the World Bank, supports the revision of the water law as part of its larger program to improve environmental and social standards in the hydropower sector. During the past decade, hydropower investments have increased substantially in Lao PDR and the industry is among several natural resources-based sectors that the government plans to develop to drive national economic growth.
“We support the Lao PDR government in consulting a broad range of stakeholders on the draft law to ensure that their different perspectives and needs are considered,” said Aimilios Chatzinikolaou, IFC’s resident representative in Lao PDR. “IFC is helping the government develop hydropower sustainably and economically so that the environment and local peoples’ livelihoods are protected at the same time.”
IFC, the World Bank, and the Lao PDR government have organized 18 consultations at regional and national levels to ensure that the new water law will meet the needs of all water users for years to come. The Department of Water Resources aims to submit the new water law to the National Assembly of the Lao PDR for approval by end of this year.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .
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