Climate Resilience in Cities in the Greater Mekong Subregion
Donor / Partner: ADB | Duration: 2013-2014 | Location: Mekong Region – Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR
About: Rapid urbanization is taking place in South East Asia, with cities in the region expanding five times faster than those in member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Urban growth in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) in the next 50-100 years is expected to be primarily experienced in small and medium-sized cities and peri-urban areas along existing and new growth corridors. Many of these areas are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
The increasing frequency and severity of extreme climate events (including floods, droughts and tropical storms), rising sea level, and the threats to infrastructure in population centres, pose serious challenges to sustainable development across the GMS.
The extensive coastline and seasonal variability associated with tropical monsoons make the GMS countries especially vulnerable to climate change. Economic impacts will be experienced in key sectors such as agriculture, but also in manufacturing and service sectors. Communities living in poverty are particularly at risk – since these communities are more likely to be in environmentally fragile locations. People living in poverty often depend for their livelihoods on sectors that are especially prone to climate change and do not have adequate savings to recover from disasters.
As the impacts of climate change increase, so will the consequences of not developing sustainable urban climate change adaptation policies. Countries in the GMS have initiated efforts to integrate climate change adaptation into national development strategies and policies, but in many cases this has not yet translated into specific agendas for cities.
This ADB project is designed to assist GMS cities to increase their understanding of climate change impacts and adaptation, to promote ‘climate resilient’ development. ICEM will conduct a climate change threat and vulnerability assessment in the towns of Battambang (Cambodia), Dong Ha (Vietnam), and Kaysone Phomvihane (Lao PDR), focussing on critical infrastructure. Through knowledge-sharing events and policy dialogues on climate change risks and adaptation, participating towns will learn about climate change impacts on critical infrastructure and the tools and processes necessary to adapt to climate change, tailored to their unique circumstances. The information and lessons learnt will be synthesized into a handbook, outlining good adaptation practices from the region and internationally.This project won an Asia wide Urban Resilience prize from USAID and UNDP. Visit the Resilient Cities report page for a full briefing on the regional workshop and work of the Core Groups.