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IFC, World Bank Support Water Resource Reforms in Lao PDR

Vientiane, Lao PDR, October 24, 2012 —IFC, the member of the World Bank Group focused on private sector development, and the World Bank are supporting the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in revising the country’s water resource law, helping foster sustainable management of the nation’s abundant water  resources.
The revisions will improve water regulation to ensure sufficient supply for the people of Lao PDR and the development of the country's hydropower sector. IFC, the World Bank, and the Department of Water Resources of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will co-host a conference in Vientiane on Wednesday, October 24. The event will be attended by Lao civil society, international organizations, and development partners. Participants will have the opportunity to contribute to the revision of the Law on Water and Water Resources.
“Proper water management is important to protect the environment, to preserve water usage for communities, and for economic purposes,” said Chanthanet Boualapha, Director General of the Department of Water Resources. “We are seeking input from the public to ensure that the new law will serve the needs of all water users for many years to come.”
The government of Lao PDR has identified the development of natural resources-based sectors, particularly hydropower, as a key way to achieve national economic growth and graduate from the group of least developed countries by 2020. IFC’s assistance is focused on improving the ways in which hydropower is developed and managed.
“IFC assistance to the government in developing the national water resource policy and strategy and revising the Law on Water and Water Resources will help to ensure that the right policies are in place, so that the hydropower sector will be harnessed in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner,” said Aimilios Chatzinikolaou, IFC Resident Representative in Lao PDR.
The World Bank’s support aims to strengthen legal, institutional, and human resource frameworks to implement integrated water resource management in Lao PDR.
“Integrated water resource management in the Mekong River Basin is at critical juncture, mainly because of the growing pressure for increased utilization of water resources to sustain regional economic growth,” said Keiko Miwa, World Bank Country Manager in Lao PDR. “For integrated water resource management to be implemented in practice, capacity in river basin management and planning need urgently to be strengthened. Having adequate institutional and human resources at the national level will be critical to implementing integrated water resource management effectively.”
The government of Lao PDR aims to submit the new Law on Water and Water Resources to the National Assembly for consideration in December 2013.
About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit , , and .