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National Strategy on Disaster Risk Reduction: 2021-2030 (Lao People's Democratic Republic)

Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) is a landlocked country, with a number of unique geographical regions. About two-thirds of the land area is mountainous. The country has a tropical climate with two seasons. The dry season is between mid-October and mid-May and is influenced by the northeast monsoon, mainly during October to February. The coolest period of this season is November to January while the hottest period is from March to May. The rainy season is from mid-May to mid-October, when the southwest monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Thailand bring high humidity into Lao PDR. Between July and September there are heavy rainfalls, especially very frequent rainfalls in August. The average annual rainfall across the country is between 1,900 to 3,500 mm. The wet season is generally hot to extremely hot.

Due to its geographical conditions and the location of the country, Lao PDR has a high risk from natural disasters and climate change, such as floods, droughts, storms, and landslides, as well as epidemics, etc. The country still relies on natural resources and agricultural production and has limited and insufficient disaster prevention, preparedness and response capabilities, and this is partly why it remains a least developed country. Climate change is also a risk factor for Lao PDR, as more people will be affected by natural disasters. Increasing rainfall and temperatures are expected to alter the Mekong hydrological system, and flood and drought risks are expected to increase.

This National Strategy on Disaster Risk Reduction (NSDRR) had been researched and developed through nation-wide consultations, and has applied international principles on disaster risk reduction, particularly the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. This NSDRR was developed under the guidance of the NSDRR Drafting Committee, led by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, and consisting of concerned government sectors, mass organizations, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). ADB provided both financial and technical support, conducting research and assessments through collecting and analyzing related data/information, organizing many technical consultation sessions at both central and local levels, and also organizing a consultation with development partners to seek feedback on the draft NSDRR.

This strategy was also presented to the Central and Provincial Disaster Management Committees. Therefore, the structure and contents of this strategy are appropriate to the different contexts of Lao PDR, clear and in line with the policies and the National Socio-Economic Development Plans, and development plans of concerned sectors, and its links to regional and global levels. The NSDRR consists of a vision and goals for 2030, seven key strategies and 12 objectives. Each of these objectives also sets out the priority focus areas for implementation from 2021-2030.