Webinar on “Southeast Asian Countries’ Updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): Spotlight on Lao PDR and Myanmar”

In this webinar, the first of an ongoing series, Dr. San Win and Ms. Daovinh Souphonphacdy provided updates on the key features of Myanmar’s and Lao PDR’s 2020 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) targets respectively, the progress of their NDCs and the long-term low emissions development strategies, as well as opportunities and challenges in the implementation of the NDCs moving forward.


Wednesday, 12 August 2020 – The Climate Change in Southeast Asia Programme (CCSEAP) hosted a webinar on 12 August 2020 on Myanmar’s and Lao PDR’s updated 2020 NDCs, which are slated for submission to the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC) at the end of 2020.

Dr. San Win and Ms. Daovinh Souphonphacdy provided updates on the key features of Myanmar’s and Lao PDR’s 2020 NDC targets respectively. Ms. Sharon Seah moderated the webinar. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)

The webinar was moderated by Ms. Sharon Seah and featured the insights of Dr. San Win (Deputy Director, Environment Conservation Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, Myanmar) and Ms. Daovinh Souphonphacdy (Deputy Director, Climate Change Management Promotion Division, Department of Climate Change, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Lao PDR).

Ms. Seah, Coordinator of CCSEAP, opened the discussion by highlighting the importance of NDCs, which are a key component of the 2015 Paris Agreement. While the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 took a top-down approach in the climate change legal regime, the Paris Agreement adopted a bottom-up approach where signatories could determine for themselves the scope, coverage, and sectors involved in climate change mitigation and adaptation. While it is not a legal requirement for countries to achieve their stated targets, they must nevertheless, prepare, communicate, and maintain these targets every five years. Countries are expected to show progression and higher ambition with each update.


Against this backdrop, Dr. San Win began his presentation by highlighting the effects that climate change has had on weather phenomenon in Myanmar, as seen in the increase in the prevalence of droughts and in the intensity and frequency of cyclones over the last century. Updating the audience on Myanmar’s progress, Dr. San Win said that the country is finalising its NDC reports and has produced seven drafts so far. Given the impact of climate change on multiple sectors in Myanmar, the country has worked to align its domestic efforts with international frameworks like the UNFCCC, the UN-REDD Programme, and the Paris Agreement.

Dr. San Win also shared that Myanmar is developing its 2020 NDCs in the context of its 2015 Intended NDCs (INDCs). While in 2015 Myanmar focused on mitigating the effects of climate change on the energy and forestry sectors, the country will be focusing on agriculture and deforestation for its 2020 NDCs.

Myanmar intends to submit its 2020 NDC update before October 2020.

For example, Myanmar has set a conditional target of achieving a net emission reduction of 50% by 2030 against a 2005–2015 baseline, with an intermediate target of 27% by 2025. The country hopes to achieve an expected annualised rate of net emission reductions of 6.9% from land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) over the 2021–2030 period. Myanmar has also set an unconditional target of reducing net emissions by 25% by 2030 against a 2005–2015 baseline.


Ms. Daovinh Souphonphacdy opened her presentation by sharing that Lao PDR is currently preparing its Biennial Update Report (BUR) for the UNFCCC. She said that Laos’ 2020 NDC update, which builds upon the country’s 2015 submission, will include greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) projections for three scenarios: baseline emissions, unconditional reduction measures, and supplementary reduction measures conditional upon international financing and technical support.

Providing details on Laos’ NDC update, Ms. Souphonphacdy said that the country conducted situation analyses and data collection from February to March 2020. Based on these feedback sessions, Laos has been drafting its NDC revisions from March to August. It intends to finalise its revisions from September to October, before submitting the update to the UNFCCC in November.

Ms. Souphonphacdy added that Laos will strengthen its Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) capacity by introducing sectoral and national targets with measurable indicators for mitigation and adaptation. She explained that Laos will focus on areas like energy efficiency, electrification for industrial processes, and a carbon and tax emission market for its climate change mitigation efforts. Conversely, the country has identified areas like landscape restoration and reforestation, facilitating flexible and diverse crop cultivation to hedge against natural disasters, and enhancing research and development capacities for its adaptation efforts.

Furthermore, Ms. Souphonphacdy highlighted the importance of situation analyses in Laos’ efforts to enhance transparency and make progress on its NDC deliverables. For example, one analysis found that the country had not met its original target to increase forest cover to 70% of land area. The 2020 NDC will thus propose to move this target to 2030.

The webinar concluded with the audience engaging the speakers on issues surrounding best practices on updating NDCs; whether Myanmar will prepare an overall economy-wide target as opposed to sectoral targets; the implications of climate-smart agriculture in Myanmar’s context; how Laos’ revised NDCs will relate to a net-zero emissions target by 2050; and Laos’ plans to meet its mitigation targets via a carbon tax and emissions market.

About 30 participants attended the webinar. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)