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  • Climate Change and Rural Communities in the Greater Mekong SubregionA Framework for Assessing Vulnerability and Adaptation Options

    CEP Knowledge Series # 1

  • Climate Change and Rural Communities in the Greater Mekong SubregionA Framework for Assessing Vulnerability and Adaptation Options

    May 2014

  • 2014 Asian Development Bank

    All rights reserved. Published in 2014. Printed in Thailand.

    ISBN 978-92-9254-534-5 (Print), 978-92-9254-535-2 (PDF) Publication Stock No. RPT146512-2 Cataloging-In-Publication Data

    Asian Development Bank.Climate change and rural communities in the Greater Mekong Subregion: A framework for assessing vulnerability and adaptation options.Mandaluyong City, Philippines: Asian Development Bank, 2014.

    1. Climate Change Adaptation 2. Communities I. Environment Operations Center

    The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) or its Board of Governors or the governments they represent.

    ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this publication and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use.

    By making any designation of or reference to a particular territory or geographic area, or by using the term country in this document, ADB does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.

    ADB encourages printing or copying information exclusively for personal and noncommercial use with proper acknowledgment of ADB. Users are restricted from reselling, redistributing, or creating derivative works for commercial purposes without the express, written consent of ADB.

    Note: In this publication, $ refers to US dollars.

    Asian Development Bank6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550 Metro Manila, PhilippinesTel +63 2 632 4444Fax +63 2 636

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    Printed on Recycled Paper

    GMS Environment Operations Center23rd Floor, The Offices at Central World999/9 Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan Bangkok 10330Tel: (+66) 2 207 4444Fax: (+66) 2 207 4400E-mail: info@gms-eoc.orgWebsite:

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    Acknowledgments v

    Abbreviations vii

    Executive Summary ix

    Introduction 1

    Agriculture, Rural Communities, and Climate Change in the GMS 3

    Study Sites 5

    Lao PDR: Xe Pian-Dong Hua Sao Biodiversity Corridor 5

    Thailand: Tenasserim Biodiversity Corridor 7

    Viet Nam: Ngoc Linh-Xe Sap Biodiversity Corridor 9

    Framework for Assessing Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation in Rural Communities 11

    Key Concepts 11

    Assessment Approach 13

    Assessment Steps 14

    Synthesis of Study Results 16

    Recommendations 25

    Next Steps 27

    Appendix 1: A Regional Climate Change Scenario for Southeast Asia 28

    Appendix 2: Other Key Climate Change Terminology 34

    Appendix 3: Summary of Characteristics of Five Climate Change Impact, Adaptation, and Vulnerability Assessment Approaches 35

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    This publication was authored by Ornsaran Pomme Manuamorn, Climate Change Coordinator at the GMS Environment Operations Center (EOC). It was prepared under the technical guidance of Sumit Pokhrel, Deputy Technical Program Head, EOC.

    Dr. Michael Green, Technical Program Head and Duncan McLeod, Outreach Specialist (both EOC) provided extensive technical review and inputs to the draft. Valuable comments were also provided by Naeeda Crishna Morgado, EOC, Suppakorn Chinvanno, SEA START, and Jiao Xi. Site maps were created by Nguyen Hanh Quyen, EOC.

    The publication was based on technical reports produced for the regional study Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation in Agriculture Areas in the Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Initiative Pilot Sites. EOC would like thank the study team members Robert Everitt, Suppakorn Chinvanno, Jiao Xi, Pham Ha Phuong, and Vichien Kerdsuk. The study was conducted and publication developed under the overall supervision of Sanath Ranawana, Senior Natural Resources Management Specialist, Asian Development Bank (ADB).

    EOC appreciates the technical expertise of the Southeast Asia START Regional Center, which provided the climate change projection data for the study.

    EOC acknowledges the environment ministries of Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam for their active support of the regional study. In particular, the provincial officers involved in the study from Champasak and Attapeu Provinces in Lao PDR, Kanchanaburi and Ratchaburi Provinces in Thailand, and Quang Nam Province in Viet Nam. Also to the community members who participated in the study.

    Finally, EOC would like to thank the governments of Finland and Sweden, the Nordic Development Fund, and ADB for their continued cofinancing of the GMS Core Environment Program.

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    Abbreviation Name

    ADB Asian Development Bank

    AR4 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report

    BCI Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Initiative

    CBA community-based adaptation

    CCIAV Climate Change Impact, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

    CEP Core Environment Program

    EBA ecosystem-based adaptation

    GCM General Circulation Model

    GDP gross domestic product

    GHG greenhouse gas

    GMS Greater Mekong Subregion

    IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

    NGO nongovernment organization

    NPA National Protected Area

    NTFP nontimber forest product

    PRA Participatory Rural Appraisal

    PRC Peoples Republic of China

    SEA START RC Southeast Asia START Regional Center

    UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

    WWF World Wide Fund for Nature

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    Executive Summary

    Rural communities in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) are particularly vulnerable to climate change due to their dependence on rainfed agriculture. To improve adaptation planning for agrarian communities, there is a need to better understand their climate vulnerability through an appropriate assessment methodology. Assessment outcomes can then be used to support the mainstreaming of climate change adaptation initiatives in community development planning to increase community resilience both now and under a future climate.

    Building on existing assessment methodologies, the GMS Core Environment Program (CEP) developed a participatory framework to assess climate vulnerability and identify adaptation options in rural GMS communities. This work aimed to demonstrate how a step-wise framework can help translate available scientific information into adaptation options and inform the integration of climate change considerations into community-level planning.

    CEP tested the assessment framework in selected communities in Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Thailand and Viet Nam in 20112012.

    The following is a summary of key messages:

    (i) Planning for climate change requires a move away from a predict-then-act approach and towards a no-regret approach. The latter calls for an understanding of drivers of vulnerability and investments in resilience that would be justifiable under a wide range of climate scenarios or even in the absence of climate change. The no-regret approach does not depend on detailed climate projections.

    (i) The vulnerability of communities to climate change must be considered in a broader socioeconomic context. As climate change may unfold over decades, socioeconomic changes may have a larger impact on communities in a much shorter timeframe, thus potentially changing the vulnerability context completely. It is crucial that climate change vulnerability assessments analyze socioeconomic dynamics.

    (ii) To inform community development planning, a climate vulnerability assessment framework should be as practical as possible. The framework should be accessible to diverse users and applicable to local contexts. This requires a balance between the use of scientific information (such as climate projections, crop model outputs, etc.) to frame the context, and a simple step-by-step approach that enables nontechnical practitioners to apply the framework in a community setting. A framework that does not incorporate scientific information is less robust, while one that is too technical may be less cost-effective and replicable, especially for community level application.

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    (iii) Participatory approaches are essential for climate vulnerability assessment at the community level. Participatory tools help fill information gaps and validate a communitys climate and nonclimate concerns. Community participation in the assessment process ensures a joint visualization of future scenarios and selection of context-appropriate adaptation options. It will also ensure greater ownership in the implementation of adaptation strategies.

    (iv) Ecosystem-based and community-based approaches are needed to formulate a climate change adaptation strategy for natural resource dependent communities. Vulnerability assessments should consider the potential impact of climate and nonclimate risks, not only on the agricultural sector itself but also on the broader ecosystems that support agricultural production and other aspects of community livelihoods. The role that ecosystems and related services play in the livelihoods of rural communities needs to be analyzed.

    (v) The adaptation strategy should be mainstreamed into local development plans. Mainstreaming ensures that development plans will not increase vul