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Laos shares in int’l discussions on climate services

Officials from Laos and other countries gathered in Puno, India, last week to discuss climate services, with the aim of improving climate-smart decision-making in a range of contexts.
The Sixth International Conference for Climate Services took place from February 11-13.
The Lao delegation was led by Mr Viengxay Manivong, National Project Director of the FAO project “Strengthening Agro-climatic Monitoring and Information Systems (SAMIS) to improve adaptation to climate change and food security in Laos”, financed by the Global Environment Facility.
Conference organiser The Climate Services Partnership supports engagement and communication among climate information providers, decision-makers, and policy communities, thereby furthering the extent to which climate information can contribute to improved development outcomes.
Mr Viengxay is Director of General Services at the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and has been leading the SAMIS project since its inception.
On the first day, Mr Viengxay gave a presentation on the Laos Climate Services for Agriculture (LaCSA) system, including detailing the seasonal six-monthly forecast and examples of the weekly bulletin for farmers.
On the second day, he gave a talk on the system used by the project to distribute data to farmers in pilot areas in Luang Namtha, Savannakhet, Saravan, Champassak and Vientiane provinces.
FAO provides information to farmers’ groups in six pilot villages and school posters are developed in collaboration with the World Food Programme in five pilot schools.
The most outstanding result so far has been the use of the loudspeaker system in 20 pilot villages. The number of beneficiaries is estimated to be 25,295 with 67.3 percent of target farmers finding favour with the initiative.
Facebook is also being used to reach out to audiences in Vientiane to great effect, with the total reach surpassing 100,000 via a campaign and resulting in some 2,714 page followers. 
The First International Conference on Climate Services was held in New York in 2011.

By Phomphong Laoin
(Latest Update February 19, 2020

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