Skip to main content

Blog: NAPs workshop in Thailand highlights path to climate resilient strategies

© UNDP 2016

By Glenn Hodes

Thailand is the home to 65 million people, the majority of whom live in rural, agricultural areas. Here, the consequences of climate change will have enormous economic, cultural and environmental impacts: it threatens rice production that is central to the economy, and a few centimeters of sea level rise will submerge the capital city and devastate coastal tourism.  Thailand has been making great progress to mitigate and adapt to the effect of climate change, though challenges such as how to increase food production and boost crop yields, how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, still remain.

There’s no shortcut to coming up with solutions to these challenges, and the most effective climate adaptation strategies need to be designed within a broader economic policy and fiscal context.

UNDP has been supporting Thailand to explore how we can more effectively adapt to climate change by linking the national planning processes in Agricultural ministries with the National Adaptation Process.

In October 2015, Thailand’s NAP process kicked off at a 3-day workshop hosted by GIZ and the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy Planning (ONEP). There, over 20 government officials were introduced to the road map, tools, and next steps anticipated for the elaboration of strategies to fully embed climate adaptation into sectoral plans and to join this up to the national master plan on climate change, approved by the Thai Cabinet.

At this event, I walked workshop participants through the process of better understanding the costs and benefits of a major new investment planned in improved water distribution and flood water diversion being planned by the Royal Irrigation Department (RID). This innovative demonstration activity, designed to help MOAC (Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives ) and its agencies rethink climate change as a key risk factor when planning and budgeting major new investments, was used as an illustrative case study to show to improved cost-benefit and climate risk analysis could be used shield agricultural production from a high future cost of flooding along the Chao Phraya river. 

A core component of the “Integrating Agriculture into NAPs project” will be the provision of technical support, training, and capacity building to help MOAC and its Office of Agricultural Economics analyze and elaborate effective strategies and bankable programs that link actions on the ground to centralized planning, monitoring, and budget development. Among these could include climate-proofed flood protection infrastructure, integrated watershed and sustainable land management activities, and investing in early warning systems linked to mobile communication platforms.

Practical methods and tools for developing more bankable programs and proposals to budget agencies that promote resiliency is a strong need in countries like Thailand. This came through clearly in moderated discussions and exercises at a regional workshop on NAP best practices late last year. At this event, the UNDP experts including Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, Rohini Kohli and myself participated as resource persons and identified common challenges and opportunities between countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

As a result of such advice and inputs at workshops, key national and sector stakeholders will be in a better position to develop climate-wise strategies that make social, environmental, and economic sense.

Glenn Hodes

Climate Policy & Finance Specialist

Bangkok Regional Hub

United Nations Development Programme

3rd Floor United Nations Service Building Rajdamnern Nok Avenue,

Bangkok 10200, Thailand