Project Description

Basin-wide Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Socio-economic Vulnerability

in the Lower Mekong Basin

Donor/Partner: Mekong River Commission (MRC)    |    Duration: 2017   |    Location: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam

About: The Mekong River Commission (MRC) Climate Change and Adaptation Initiative (CCAI) is a collaborative regional effort to support the processes of adapting to climate change in the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB). The CCAI focuses on (i) climate change impact and vulnerability assessment, adaptation planning and implementation in priority locations within the LMB; (ii) building knowledge and capacity at different levels; (iii) regional adaptation strategy supporting national frameworks; (iv) regional partnership and collaboration.

The CCAI is conducting a Basin-Wide Assessment (BWA) with the aim to provide information on the impacts of climate change on water and related resources and sectors of the LMB. The results of the BWA will be used for the preparation of the Mekong Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan (MASAP).

The BWA is structured in seven components: assessment of the impact of Climate Change on (1) flow, (2) flood, (3) drought, (4) hydropower, (5) ecosystems and biodiversity, (6) food security and (7) socio-economic vulnerability. The first six components has been carried out. ICEM has been contracted to complete the seventh – the socio-economic vulnerability assessment (SEVA) – which builds on the first six components. It needs to be developed to finalize the BWA, and is the objective of this project.

It will be conducted following a methodology that involves the identification of proxy data to develop indexes reflecting i) exposure to climate change, ii) sensitivity to climate change and iii) adaptive capacity. These indexes will be combined to develop a vulnerability index.


The SEVA will be developed with the overall objective of identifying potential impacts of climate change on socio-economic systems in the context of the LMB through a transparent and robust methodology that allows a systematic and quantified identification of these impacts. Within this, objectives include:

  • Development of a methodology for impact and vulnerability assessment;
  • Development of a set of robust proxy indicators and consolidated data sets for use in the SEVA;
  • Conduct of the SEVA for the LMB and identification of likely impacts and existing vulnerabilities;
  • Develop an analysis that can be used as a basis for the development of adaptation interventions; and
  • Develop initial recommendations for adaptation interventions.

Key outputs include:

  • Development of a clear methodology that can be applied in the LMB context to enable the assessment of socio-economic impacts and vulnerabilities in the basin;
  • A better understanding of the impact pathways through which climate change is likely to affect socio-economic systems in the basin; and
  • The identification of vulnerable locations and communities to climate change impacts in the LMB supported by mapping and datasets.