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Pragmatical Projects Contributing to Green Development in Laos

A Report on "Demonstration of Integrated Management of Typical Small Basin in the Lancang-Mekong Countries" Projects Implemented through China-Laos Cooperation

In the framework of Lancang-Mekong cooperation, a series of projects for "Demonstration of Integrated Management of Typical Small Basin in the Lancang-Mekong Countries (Phase II)” were launched officially on September 14, 2021. The construction site will be at the "Hongshan" Village in Phongsali, Phongsaly Province, Laos.The purpose of the series of projects is to improve local residents' living level and production conditions, upgrade crop yield, increase residents' economic income, and promote water resource protection and green, sustainable development. 

Phongsaly Province is located at the northernmost of Laos within the Nam Ou Basin, and borders Yunnan, China. It has been a China-Laos junction since ancient times, and is surrounded by mountains and spotted with steep slopes and deep valleys. It has spring-like weather all the year around, with frequent rain. Precipitous terrain and inconvenient traffic maintain the original ecology of Phongsaly but significantly hamper the livelihood improvement of the local residents. Currently, Phongsaly Province has a population of 166,000, with 22 nationalities. A great number of residents of this province are located in mountain regions and still live in the mode of slash-and-burn. If they continue to live like this, their living will be hard to improve, and the natural environment will be gradually destroyed. 

With the launching of the pragmatic projects supported by "Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Special Fund" proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC (FMPRC), China-Laos water resources cooperation reached a new stage. In 2020, "Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Special Fund (2020)” that was launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC subsidized the series of projects for "Demonstration of Integrated Management of Typical Small Basin in the Lancang-Mekong Countries (Phase I)”. Guided by the Ministry of Water Resources of the PRC, CRSRI of Changjiang Water Resources Commission played a leading role in technology support and cooperated with the Power Construction Corporation of China to launch the projects in Phongsaly Province, Laos. After the deep communication with the government departments of Phongsaly Province, the "Yange" Village located at the bank of Nam Li River, a tributary of Nam Ou, in Samphanh, Phongsaly Province, was selected as the demonstration village for the Phase I projects, and then the integrated management demonstration construction for small basins was carried out in this village. The projects team followed the concept of "green and sustainable development", investigated the actual demand of "Yange" Village residents in the aspects including living standard improvement, ecological restoration, environment governance and natural disaster defense, formed the idea about the integrated management, water resource protection and green development of small river basins, and prepared the report of Implementation Program of Integrated Management for Typical Small Basins In Laos (Phase I). In "Yange" Village, several integrated management and green development projectss, including purification of drinking water, collection and treatment of wastes, prevention and control of water loss and soil erosion (turning hillsides into terraced fields, and the construction of check dams), prevention of mountain torrents disasters (construction of moisture monitoring stations for rainfall and water levels) as well as the planting and transferring of fruit forests, were implemented. 

 

 Figure 1 "Yange" Village at Samphanh, Phongsaly Province, Laos 

 

 

Figure 2 Main works of waste collection pool at "Yange" Village, Laos 

 

 

Figure 3 Project of drinking water purification at "Yange" Village, Laos 

 

 

Figure 4 Main works of grade-4 turning hillsides into terraced fields at "Yange" Village, Laos 

 

 

 

Figure 5 Main works of checking dam construction at "Yange" Village, Laos 

 

 

 

Figure 6 Rainfall moisture monitoring station for Nam Li River from Nam Ou, Laos 

 

Figure 7 Water level telemetering station for Nam Li River from Nam Ou, Laos

Remaining true to the original aspiration of the common development that puts people's well-being first, in this project, feedback surveys were implemented for the residents at the "Yange" Village, Laos, in terms of local residents' demand and feelings, tracking of construction achievements, investigation for the intention of later-stage operation and maintenance as well as future governance prospects. It is generally believed by the residents that the project has played a positive promotion role in improving living environments, facilitating sustainable development, restoring ecological environment, etc. 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 8 Feedback surveys to the residents at the "Yange" Village, Laos

2021 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Laos. In this year, jointly supported by China-Laos governments at all levels, following the concept of staying realistic and pragmatic, "Demonstration of Integrated Management of Typical Small Basin in the Lancang-Mekong Countries (Phase II)” has been undertaken by CRSRI of Changjiang Water Resources Commission, and organized and implemented by PowerChina Nam Ou River Basin Co., Ltd. In the Phase II projects, China and Laos will improve the demonstration efficiency in two aspects, i. e. emphasizing on "green upgrading and quality improvement" (specifically, paying more attention to green development in demonstration and utilizing "development" to upgrade "project stiffness"), and focusing on the protection and management of "stiffness". For the Phase II projects, the demonstration of the management and control of water resource protection space and the demonstration of water resource protection and utilization as well as environment governance will be carried out at the "Hongshan" Village in Phongsali, Phongsaly Province, Laos; the engineering such as turning hillsides into terraced fields, planting in fruit forests, modification of water supply pipes and the installation of waste collection and treatment equipment, will be completed so as to improve local residents' living level and production conditions, upgrade crop yield, increase residents' economic income and promote water resource protection and green, sustainable development. 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 9 Surveys by the project team at "Hongshan" Village in Phongsali, Phongsaly Province, Laos 

On September 14, 2021, the representatives of China-Laos governments at all levels and the personnel of the project team carried out the on-line ground-breaking ceremony of "Demonstration of Integrated Management of Typical Small Basin in the Lancang-Mekong Countries (Phase II)” at Phongsali (Laos), Beijing (China) and Wuhan (China). China's representatives from Ministry of Water Resources of the PRC, Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Luang Prabang, Changjiang Water Resources Commission, Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Center, CRSRI of Changjiang Water Resources Commission and PowerChina Nam Ou River Basin Co., Ltd. attended the ground-breaking ceremony. Laos' representatives from the Phongsaly Province Government, the Energy and Mines Department of Phongsaly Province, the Agriculture Department of Phongsaly Province, Phongsali Government and "Hongshan" Village residents also attended the ceremony. 

At the meeting, Dr. Zhong Yong, Head of the Joint Working Group on Water Resources Cooperation of LMC from China, Consul of the Department of International Cooperation, Science and Technology, MWR, said that, "China and Laos have maintained long-term friendly cooperation relationships, and have carried out a batch of pragmatic projects in the fields such as water resource management, basin planning, disaster prevention and mitigation as well as personnel training, making positive contribution in promoting China-Laos bilateral relationships better and improving people's well-being in both countries. Water is the source of life, the necessity for production and the essential guarantee for both production and life. In epidemic situation, it is crucial for people to obtain clean water sources. China is ready to cooperate with Laos to pragmatically propel the high-quality implementation of China-Laos cooperation in water resources, and to help the residents in the demonstration village have reliably safe water and live in better environment." 

Li Zhigong, the Consul General of the Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Luang Prabang said that, "the projects of the Demonstration of Integrated Management of Typical Small Basin in the Lancang-Mekong Countries are not limited to the protection and utilization of water resources. The projects pay special attention on enhancing environment protection, improving people's well-being and promoting local economic growth and social development. The related departments and organizations of China and Laos that participate in the planning and construction of the "Hongshan" Village demonstration projects shall properly implement the projects. It is hoped that Laos Government provide great help. The Consulate General will continue to support the project related to the integrated management of small basins and the cooperation in water resources and give positive support in transforming the rich water resources of Nam Ou to greater economic and social efficiency. 

Mr. Visone LAOMAO, vice governor of Phongsaly Province, Laos, proposed that, "the project of Demonstration of Integrated Management of Typical Small Basin in the Lancang-Mekong Countries is the typical results of China-Laos overall strategic cooperation partnership. They will be favorable for stabilizing the good relationships between China and Laos as neighbors, friends, comrades and partners." 

Through the implementation of the series of projects of "Demonstration of Integrated Management of Typical Small Basin in the Lancang-Mekong Countries", China has carried through the cooperation principle of fostering amity and friendship with neighborhood, upheld the cooperation purpose of putting development first, fulfilled the cooperation concept of mutual benefit, and remained true to the original aspiration of pursuing people-centric cooperation. CRSRI of Changjiang Water Resources Commission hopes to, through the construction of the integrated management demonstration of small basins, respond to the water resource development demand of Laos, maintain pragmatic cooperation and promote the philosophy of water resource protection and green development, so as to provide long-term technical support for promoting the water resource protection of small basins and the green, sustainable development of both economic and ecological environment for Mekong countries." 

 

 

 

 

Figure 10 Site of ground-breaking ceremony at Phongsali, Phongsaly Province, Laos 

 

 

 

 

Figure 11 Site of ground-breaking ceremony at Changjiang River Scientific Research Institute in Wuhan, China 

 

Speech by Dr. Zhong Yong, Head of the Joint Working Group on Water Resources Cooperation of LMC from China

Speech by Mr. Li Zhigong, the Consul General of the Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Luang Prabang 

Photos of speech by Mr. Sha Zhigui, the vice president of CRSRI 

Photos of project introduction by Mr. Xu Jijun from the Water Resources Department of CRSRI

Figure 12 Photos of speeches by the representatives at the on-line meeting of the ground-breaking ceremony