Project Description

Basin-wide Climate Change Impact and Vulnerability Assessment

for the Wetlands of the Lower Mekong Basin for Adaptation Planning

Donor / Partner: The Mekong River Commission (MRC)  Basin-wide Climate Change Impact and Vulnerability Assessment for the Wetlands of the Lower Mekong Basin for Adaptation Planning    |    Duration: 2011-2012     |    Location: Lower Mekong Basin

About: The purpose of the study was to undertake a climate change impact and vulnerability assessment of the wetlands in the Lower  Mekong Basin and provide recommendations and options for effective adaptation. Central to achieving effective adaptation is the development of a solid scientific evidence basis and a rapid spatial assessment methodology for climate change vulnerability assessments of natural systems.

The assessment demonstrated the process and benefits of taking a geo-spatial approach to wetland vulnerability assessments, allowing for the transfer of scientific findings from the case-study to the sub-basin and basin level and increasing the ability of the assessment to influence planning structures at these levels. A key goal of the project was for scientists and planners to ‘up-scale’ the functional climate change response of a wetland to other wetlands of the same type. In accordance with international best-practice, the assessment also took a functional approach to defining wetlands, focusing on how the wetlands work rather than simply what they wetlands look like. This focus on ecosystem functions is better suited for integrating the hydro-metrological impacts of climate change on the wetlands as well as linking them to the livelihoods of the millions of people in the basin who rely on them.

The study functioned as a pilot and demonstration for the benefit of all MRC member countries. The project also built capacity for climate vulnerability assessments, principally within the NMCs, national agencies responsible for the natural resource management and those concerned with implementing climate change adaptation planning. Government staff received on-the job training and participated in specific components of the assessment, targeted to their needs. The MRC Environmental Project commissioned a partnership of leading climate change and natural systems management organization – IUCN, World Fish and SEA Start led by ICEM – International Centre for Environmental Management to undertake this study.