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Opening Remarks by Mr.

Chong Chi Nai, ADB Country Director Lao PDR Resident Mission, Asian Development Bank at RETA 7914: Harnessing Climate Change Mitigation Initiatives to Benefit Women Inception Workshop 27 March 2013, Vientiane, Lao PDR Madame Monemany Nhoybouakong, GMS National Coordinator, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and also Director General, Lao National Mekong River Committee Secretariat Distinguished development partners and colleagues Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the inception workshop of RETA 7914: Harnessing Climate Change Mitigation Initiatives to Benefit Women Project. This is jointly organized by the Lao National Mekong Secretariat, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), and Asian Development Bank (ADB). I would like to particularly welcome representatives from different government agencies and extend a warm welcome to representatives from various development partners.

Ladies and gentlemen, ADBs strategic priorities for climate change highlight the need to shift consumption from conventional to clean energy, to sustainable urban and transport development and to improved natural resource management. Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions requires not only shifting to cleaner energy sources and transportation systems but altering resource use and consumption patterns. At the grassroots level, communities are critical agents of these changes. However, there are only few projects that positively reward communities for making these changes. It is also rare for climate change mechanisms to explicitly recognize the important role women play in managing the water, fuels, and wastes that are central to communitybased projects. Climate funds trend to largely overlook women. This project aims to change this thinking and make women part of the solution instead.

The views expressed in this paper are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), or its Board of Governors, or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this paper and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. The countries listed in this paper do not imply any view on ADB's part as to sovereignty or independent status or necessarily conform to ADB's terminology.

With support from the Nordic Development Fund, ADB approved the implementation of this regional technical assistance project, which will contribute to the improvement of access to low-carbon technology and livelihoods for women in urban and peri-urban areas in developing member country pilot sites. It will support an enabling environment for gender sensitive climate mitigation policies and finance in three countries, including Lao PDR and will be implemented until 2015.

Recognizing that low-carbon technologies and access to carbon financing opportunities present co-benefits for women, the project will help link womens organizations with climate mitigation technologies. This would allow women to spend less time obtaining fuel wood, have access to cleaner energy sources and clean water, provide safe local environmental conditions and improve their own livelihoods. In Lao PDR, focus will be on the use of improved cook stoves. Capacity building activities will be conducted for womens groups to aid them in gaining access to carbon financing and engaging in climate change policy dialogue at subnational level.

Based on a recent country gender assessment conducted for Lao PDR by the ADB and World Bank, it was emphasized that womens participation in policy setting has steadily increased, but there is still limited representation at the provincial and local levels. Provision of institutional support for gender mainstreaming mechanisms has thus been recommended. The project will address this issue by supporting gender mainstreaming into climate change responses planning by working with national and provincial agencies to integrate gender into climate change strategies, action plans, screening criteria, monitoring and evaluation, and benefit distribution rules for low carbon projects. It will target stakeholders from relevant climate and womens agencies, and facilitate the exchange of experiences and best practices, to enable gender-equitable distribution of climate finance.

A Knowledge Coordination Hub has also been established to convene stakeholder consultations and support capacity building activities. Project outcomes will also be

shared to a wider audience through participation in international venues like Community of Practice meetings and the International Forum for Sustainable Asia and the Pacific.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me express ADB's appreciation to the Government of Lao PDR for our partnership in increasing womens participation in climate change mitigation responses. ADB looks forward to working with MONRE, LWU, SNV, and development partners to successfully implement this project and continuing our partnership for accelerating the country's development growth and improving the lives of the poor in Lao PDR.

I wish all of you great success in this meeting and in the work ahead.

Thank you very much.