This Month in Laos - December 2019
1. Extinction of Tigers in Laos?
Until recently, the common figure of Tigers known to live in Laos was a staggering total of only 2. New research now brings this number into the obsolete. The evidence concluded that no wild living tigers still exist in the country. The tigers, like many other animals, have been suffering from the “snaring crisis” in Southeast Asia for a long time. Snares – simple traps made of wires and ropes- can be easily made at home and have been used excessively in the region. Known as the single and biggest threat for wild animals momentarily, there is perhaps chance the tigers could return via migration if these snares would be removed.
2. Nam Ou River Dam Phase 2
On Thursday, December 26th a ceremony to kick off the second phase the Nam Ou River hydropower project took place in Luang Prabang. The project, which was developed by the Chinese “PowerChina” cooperation is a part of the “Belt and Road initiative” and the first project powered by a Chinese firm to win the development rights of a whole river basin in Laos. The Laotian government stresses the potential to deliver high-quality clean power to boost Laos' socio-economic development. When completed, the dam is promised to guarantee 12 percent of the electricity supply in Laos. For the environmental and social perspectives about this project, see our previous November news.
3. Research to combat poverty?
The Laotian authorities are turning their focus to research from think tank experts to concretize plans for alleviating poverty. To conceptualize this, the findings of the research - carried out by Lao and foreign experts - will be consolidated and used when drafting the poverty reduction plan and the five-year National Socio-economic Development Plan for the years 2020-2025. Additionally, the hope is to find out through the studies why the pace of the poverty reduction in Laos is slower than in the neighboring countries.