President Barack Obama visited Laos a few days ago, the first holder of his office to do so. He made a speech. It mentions Lao culture, Laotian minorities, Laotians in the United States, bomb clearance, human rights, TPP, China, ASEAN… There is one unspecific sentence on climate change.
Laos ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change one day later, on 7 September, taking the numbers to 27 countries, still at 39% of emissions.
This was not difficult diplomacy. The ratification can’t be something Obama asked for during the visit. It was probably more like this. Laos has signed the agreement and filed an INDC, so ratification was just a matter of signing and filing the paperwork (a task apparently still too hard for the foreign ministries of the EU members and Brazil). The government knows that the Paris Agreement is important to Obama. If not, the White House and the State Department will have reminded it in the preparations. So ratification was timed as an icebreaker for his visit. Thirty seconds at the start of the meeting for congratulations, then they moved on.
Most of the working day of a President and the staff must be spent on issues like this: individually not very important, but they add up to his or her legacy. We know already which of the candidates for the office will leave one.