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Water and Water Resources Law to Advance Sustainability in Lao PDR

Vientiane, Lao PDR, May 30, 2017 – Lao PDR’s National Assembly last week approved an updated Water and Water Resources Law presented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Passed with a 93 percent majority, the new law is the result of more than five years of collaboration between the government of Lao PDR, The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group.
“In Lao PDR, there are many stakeholders utilizing water resources for various purposes. MONRE is playing a central role in water resource management and is the key coordinating agency for all stakeholders to ensure sustainable use of water throughout the country.  said H.E. Mr. Sommad Pholsena, Lao PDR’s Minister for Natural Resources and Environment.
New provisions have been added on water rights and use, including waste-water discharge permits, wetlands and water-resources protection, ground-water management, and river-basin management. Additionally, the law expands the terms and conditions of large, medium, and small-scale uses and includes articles on environmental flows for hydropower as well as stipulations related to irrigation use.
“The process benefitted from extensive consultations with a wide range of stakeholders, including the private sector,” said Kyle Kelhofer, IFC Country Manager for Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam. “The updated Law aims to be practical and help businesses understand their obligations in relation to water allocation and resources use.”
The updated Water and Water Resources Law has 13 parts, 7 chapters, and 98 articles, in which 28 articles were improved, 67 newly created, and three retained as it is. Sub-regulations are being developed to ensure the law can be readily implemented. Aiming to improve the sustainability of Lao’s water resources, the law is expected to influence the monitoring, management and planning of the country’s vast rivers.
IFC’s support for revamping the Water and Water Resources Law began in 2012 with research that suggested that an updated law was needed to better protect water resources and improve its management. Since then, IFC, with support from the World Bank, the governments of Australia and Japan, have provided technical support and rolled out a country-wide stakeholder engagement process.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In FY16, we delivered a record $19 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
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