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ADB Study Helps GMS Governments Plan for Climate Change

ADBMay 2014: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) released the results of its research on the climate vulnerability of rural communities in three biodiversity conservation corridors in countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) -  Thailand, Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) and Viet Nam. The study aimed to develop a framework for translating climate projections into adaptation options that can inform community-level planning.

The publication, titled ‘Climate Change and Rural Communities in the Greater Mekong Sub-region: A Framework for Assessing Vulnerability and Adaptation Options,' is the first in a series of knowledge reports from the ADB's Core Environment Programme (CEP).

The study addressed the situation of communities in forested uplands that depend on rain-fed agriculture. It found that, while socioeconomic changes are likely to affect communities sooner than climate change, participatory assessment of vulnerability and practical measures to improve community resilience should be undertaken, as climate projections indicate staple crops such as rice and maize will experience falling yields in the future.

The report identifies some common elements that are needed in community adaptation strategies at the three study sites: crop diversification and planting of drought-resistant varieties; improved land and risk management practices to reduce soil erosion and flash floods; financing to establish alternative livelihoods; and farmer education. The author notes that aligning forestry and biodiversity conservation policies will enhance adaptive capacity at the local level and promote ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA).

In addition to proposing adaptation measures, the author outlines how the study methodology can be improved and scaled up to the regional level. [Publication: Climate Change and Rural Communities in the Greater Mekong Sub-region: A Framework for Assessing Vulnerability and Adaptation Options] [ADB GMS Website]