Synthesis Report on Sixth seminar - Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation into River Basin Planning and Development

Report / Paper

Synthesis Report on Sixth seminar - Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation into River Basin Planning and Development


February 2012


Bangkok– The sixth bi-monthly Sharing & Learning Seminar was organised on the theme “Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation into River Basin Planning and Development: Challenges and Opportunities” on 27th June 2011. The seminar was co-organized by the Adaptation Knowledge Platform and Asia Pacific Adaptation Network in collaboration with the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). More than 120 development and river basin planners, policy- and decision-makers, development and climate change adaptation practitioners participated in the seminar. The seminar discussed the experiences of water managers, project developers, policy-makers and other professionals from various river basin organizations. The experts dwelt on their concerns about integrating water, land and related resources within a given river basin while adapting to climate change. The seminar also explored innovative and effective tools and approaches for more integrated and adaptive river basin management.Ms. Chongchit Chantharanonh, Acting Secretary General of the Lao National Mekong Committee and the Member of MRC Joint Committee, opened the seminar with her welcome address to all the participants. Mr. Mozaharul Alam, Regional Climate Change Coordinator of the UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, gave the introduction of the objectives and agenda of the seminar. Dr. Andrew Noble, former Regional Director for Southeast and Central Asia of IWMI, and Ms. Birgit Vogel, former officer of the International Commission for Protection of the Danub River (ICPDR) and Chief Technical Advisor of the Mekong Integrated Water Resources Management Project of MRC, set the context for the seminar by giving keynote addresses on the role of river basin planning and development in climate change adaptation in Asia and streamlining climate change adaptation into river basin management in the case of the Danub River, respectively.The seminar provided a venue for case presentations on climate change impacts and adaptation in Asian river basins, panel discussions on Mekong experiences and group discussions about challenges and opportunities in mainstreaming climate change adaptation into river basin planning and development. First, Dr. Chaiyuth Sukhsri of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand and Mr. G. Karma Chhopel, Water Resources Coordination of National Environment Commission (NEC), Bhutan, made presentations on climate change impacts and adaptation for agriculture and irrigation in Chao Phraya basin and experiences in adaptation planning in river basin management in Bhutan, respectively. Then Mr. John Dore, Senior Water Resources Advisor - Mekong Region of Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), carried on the seminar by facilitating the panel discussions. The first panellist, Ms. Dang Thuy Trang, Manager of Sustainable Hydropower and River Basin Management, WWF Greater Mekong Programme in Lao PDR, introduced basin-wide ecosystem-based approach in enhancing climate resilience in the Mekong region that WWF has undertaken.The four panelists from the Mekong River basin countries, namely, Ms. Bounyaseng Sengkhammy, Water Resources and Environment Administration of Lao PDR, Dr. Yanyong Inmuong, Khonkaen University in Thailand, HE Mr. Kol Vathana, Deputy Secretary General of Cambodia National Mekong Committee and Ms. Mme Nguyen Thi Ky Nam, National Environment Program Coordinator of Vietnam National Mekong Committee, shared experiences on each country’s river basin-wide adaptation strategies at different levels. The other panelist, Ms. Kathryn Elliott, First Secretary of AusAID Vietnam, provided donor perspectives on supporting climate change interventions by employing experiences from its demonstration project in Vietnam. After the panel discussions and a brief Q&A session, the seminar continued with group discussions. Each group discussed and presented challenges and recommendations on mainstreaming climate change adaptation into river basin planning and development.Dr. Kien Tran-Mai, Climate Change Programme Officer of MRC, gave a synthesis summary capturing key presentation and discussion points shared at the seminar, and Roopa Rakshit, Senior Knowledge Management Officer of AIT-UNEP Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific (RRC.AP), closed the morning seminar session with concluding remarks.       The afternoon session of the seminar further offered a unique opportunity of small group discussions to those wanting to follow up on the morning seminar discussions. Dr. Louis Lebel, Director of Unit for Social and Environmental Research of Chiang Mai University in Thailand, facilitated the afternoon discussions with the following key topics:

  • Data and understanding (cooperation & building capacity)
  • Coordination and integration of adaptation initiatives and plans (lessons learnt) 
  • Innovative responses to adaptation challenge (strategies, technologies)