The region of East and Southeast Asia is characterized by considerable climatic diversity—from the tropical archipelagic countries of Indonesia and Philippines, to the tropical monsoon climates of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam, to the more continental and arid climates of Mongolia and western China (USDS, 2011). A rise in temperatures of 0.1o to 0.3oC per decade between 1951 and 2000 has been observed in the region (Cruz et al., 2007). This trend is projected to continue during this century. In East Asia, temperatures could rise by at least 3oC (based upon the low emissions B1 scenario) and potentially up to almost 7oC (based upon the high emission A1F1 scenario) by the 2070 to 2099 time period. In Southeast Asia, temperature increases are projected to be more moderate, rising by 1.87o to 3.92oC by the 2070 to 2099 time period.
Climate change is also projected to lead to more variable and intense rainfall patterns throughout the region. By the period of 2080 to 2099, mean annual rainfall is projected to increase by 9 per cent in East Asia and 7 per cent in Southeast Asia. However, large differences remain between the projections generated by different models (Christensen et al., 2007). Uncertainty remains regarding how the characteristics of extreme weather events may change in the future in East and Southeast Asia, due to the complexity associated with modeling their occurrences. Increasing variability of rainfall patterns is already being measured in China, Indonesia and the Philippines (Cruz et al., 2007). While there is a great degree of uncertainty to sea-level rise projections, models suggest that a global rise of between 0.18 to 0.38 meters on the low end to 0.25 to 0.6 meters on the high end could occur during this century (Meehl et al., 2007). Such a rise would be devastating to a region with many low-lying islands and coastal areas, including the densely populated Mekong Delta.
Identified Adaptation Needs and Priorities
Water resources, agriculture and coastal resource management (except for the landlocked countries of Lao PDR and Mongolia) are areas of adaptation need and priority identified by all countries in the region. Additional priorities identified by more than half of all countries in the region are: disaster risk reduction, particularly with respect to floods, droughts and—in Southeast Asia—typhoons; forestry; terrestrial ecosystems; health; policy integration; and research and the improved provision of meteorology information. Some of the specific needs and priorities include:
- Water resources: Much of East and Southeast Asia already faces water stress (IFAD, 2009) and this situation is projected to be exacerbated by greater glacial melt in Mongolia and China, intrusion of saltwater into freshwater resources in coastal areas, and potential modification of the Mekong River system. Actions suggested in response by countries in the region include strengthening water conservation and water efficiency practices, improving irrigation practices, improving flood monitoring, forecasting and management capacity, increasing water availability through better water allocation procedures and construction of reservoirs, restoring vegetation cover and controlling soil erosion, and protecting water resources from pollution.
- Agriculture: Throughout East and Southeast Asia, agriculture is expected to be heavily affected by a combination of higher temperatures, greater variability in rainfall patterns, altered growing seasons, extreme weather events, sea-level rise and associated impacts on water availability and quality. Measures proposed in response include increased education and capacity building for farmers, identification of climate resilient crops, introduction of climate resilient cropping techniques, diversification of products, and better access to meteorological information that can assist in weather forecasting and planting schedules.
- Coastal resource management: Although uncertainty remains regarding the degree to which sea levels will rise, storm surges will be affected and tropical cyclones might be altered by climate change, it is expected that these changes will adversely impact the coastal regions of East and Southeast Asia. Adaptation measures identified to reduce this vulnerability include capacity building of local residents, introduction of Integrated Coastal Zone Management, improved coastal hazard management, ecosystem protection, improved aquaculture, and land use planning and infrastructure development that accounts for sea-level rise.
Policy Level Actions
Considerable variation in policy formation, strategy development and planning for adaptation exists within East and Southeast Asia. Some countries, namely Myanmar and Timor-Leste, have not yet completed their first National Communications to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). These two least developed countries (LDCs) are also continuing to develop their National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs); the other two LDCs in the region, Cambodia and Lao PDR, have completed theirs. Other countries, such as China and Viet Nam, have relatively coherent plans for meeting their adaptation needs. As a country’s needs are heavily related to water resources, coastal zones and agriculture, most plans focus on these sectors.
There are a number of regional forums in which adaptation is being addressed, including the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The MRC is charged with the shared management of the Mekong River, which traverses between its member countries and serves as a vital regional resource. The MRC’s Climate Change and Adaptation Initiative addresses concerns related to rainfall patterns, extreme weather events, extreme temperatures, sea-level rise, displaced persons and changes in river and tributary flow. The ASEAN takes a broader view, looking to develop a collaborative regional approach on climate change. Activities planned and underway include the development of an ASEAN Climate Change Initiative, promotion of shared knowledge on adaptation, regional strategies on capacity building, and development of climate scenarios.
Source: Review of Current and Planned Adaptation Action: East and Southeast Asia. Contributing Authors: Philip Gass, Hilary Hove, Jo-Ellen Parry (International Institute for Sustainable Development), 2011.
A survey of farmers in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam reveals that farmers are keenly aware of even slight changes in their climate. Over 90% of the farmers interviewed perceived small changes in temperature or precipitation patterns where they lived. Over half claimed to have changed their irrigation, timing, or crop choices because of climate change. Although the link between perceived changes and stated adaptations is weak, farmers are aware of the types of changes they need to make in response to climate change in South-East Asia. Adaptation responses must be firmly grounded in not only local conditions, but also the views of participants at the front lines of climate change impacts. The knowledge base of farmers grappling with the challenges of climate change must be taken into account when policy responses to support adaptation are formulated.
Climate change is an existential threat in Small Developing Island States (SIDS) in Asia. Asian SIDS are characterized by their particular vulnerability to sea level rise and subsequent inundation and coastal erosion. For example, a sea level rise of even a meter would cause the loss of the entire land area of Maldives, as over 80% of its land area is less than one meter above mean sea level. The Asian SIDS face risk factors including extreme weather events, deforestation, soil erosion due to sub-prime agricultural practices, and tropical cyclones. Overall temperature and mean rainfall is increasing, while dry seasons are projected to be drier.
This will compound underlying trends of increasing pressure on scarce land resources, and increase physical vulnerability of island populations, infrastructure and livelihood assets. Especially, rural SIDS communities often become isolated when roads and bridges get washed away by localized extreme events. Also, given that the coral reefs surrounding the islands support their tourism and fisheries upon which the island populations depend on almost exclusively, the economic ramification for such threats is profound. Particularly those living in the remote interior of the countries and highly exposed coastal areas suffer more from infrastructure destruction and disrupted water supply.
Therefore, the demand in the region is increasingly growing for improved understanding of climate variability and change induced threats at country level and target industries. Another area of interest is developing systematic adaptation planning within relevant development sectors to protect vulnerable social and environmental assets and natural resources.
Learn more about UNDP's Support to Small Island Developing States.
Sources: Timor-Leste Project Identification Form (PIF), GEF, 2011; Maldives Project Document, UNDP; Review of Current and Planned Adaptation Action: South Asia, Adaptation Patnership/International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2011.
Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam
The Capacity Building Programme on the Economics of Climate Change Adaptation (ECCA) in Asia is a cooperative effort between UNDP, the USAID ADAPT Asia-Pacific Project, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and Yale University. It addresses a consensus reached during a 2012 Regional Consultation that a more comprehensive approach to mainstreaming climate change risks into planning processes was needed to ensure economically-efficient climate change strategies at the sectoral, sub-national and national levels.
The ECCA programme is thus comprised of a series of trainings on microeconomic tools for assessing the costs and benefits of adaptation. Trainings are interspersed with in-country work with the mentor support of an economics expert from a local university. The programme targets technical staff in the public sector, specifically those who are or will be involved in sector or project analysis in central agencies including Planning, Finance, Environment and/or line Ministries. Many of the targeted staff are also expected to play key roles in mainstreaming climate into development planning, as Least Developing Countries are shortly expected to do through their respective National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process.
The 1st and 2nd regional workshops provided training on theory and the practical application of cost-benefit analysis, and introduced participants to forecasting and modeling. The 3rd and 4th trainings next year will move from project level analysis to sectoral analysis, and will look into country-specific institutional development plans, within the context of ongoing and new initiatives. These analyses will be further presented to policy makers, and can support decision-making related to the assessment of alternative adaptation options.
Ultimately, the programme seeks to institutionalize these important analytical skills into ministries and departments, enabling countries to formulate economically efficient and climate resilient development plans, including National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) - a process established under the Cancun Adaptation Framework (CAF) to help countries identify their medium- and long-term adaptation needs. These trainings will be shaped into a post-graduate training course, available at universities and institutions in Asia region for continued learning.
Visit the Capacity Building Programme on the Economics of Climate Change Adaptation (ECCA) profile for overall information on the global programme.
Workshops, Live Chats & Webinars
This is a two-year programme with four regional workshops, each workshop is a building block guiding participants through principles and application techniques of economic analysis. These trainings and experience-sharing workshops are interspersed with field work and application. Additional support is provided to the country teams through Live Chats and Webinars- virtual classroom settings where participants discuss issues with the lead mentors as well as each other.
Reports and Publications of relevance to Country Teams
Training & Tools
Relevant Peer-Reviewed Articles
The programme is designed and rolled out as a complement to UNDP's support to countries on adaptation with financing from the Least Developed Country Fund, Special Climate Change Fund (managed by the Global Environment Facility) and the Adaptation Fund. It is aligned with upcoming UNDP-UNEP-GEF support to countries that are preparing to formulate National Adaptation Plans.
Specifically, the approach adopted in this capacity building programme is based on the following key elements:
- Training of technical officers at the national and sub-national level to estimate the economic costs and benefits of climate change impacts as well as adaptation options
- Support technical officers at the national/sub-national level, including others, to assess the costs and benefits of climate change adaptation options in order to promote learning by doing
- Establishment of the training programme within a suitable center of excellence in the country or region that can provide continuous technical advisory support on the economics of adaptation to countries developing national adaptation plans and investment projects
- Convene policy dialogue forums with Ministries of Planning/Finance and line Ministries at the country and regional level to discuss the economics of adaptation in the context of national and sub-national medium and long-term national development plans and investment projects
- Develop and nurture a virtual community of practice of technical officers working on the economics of adaptation
- Support the appraisal of investment projects for adaptation that can be financed from current and emerging sources of climate finance
- Technical officers in Planning, Finance, Environment, Agriculture, Water and Public Works Ministries and others at the national and sub-national level trained to estimate the economic costs and benefits of climate change impacts as well as adaptation options
- Country Teams (comprised of technical officers from relevant Government Ministries, academia and others) conduct assessments on the costs and benefits of climate change adaptation options (this work will be linked to ongoing adaptation projects financed by the Least Developed Country Fund, Special Climate Change Fund and/or Adaptation Fund)
- Investment projects for adaptation that can be financed from current and emerging sources of funds such as the Green Climate Fund will be assessed in terms of their economic costs and benefits
- Establishment of the training programme within a suitable learning center in the country or region that can provide continuous technical advisory support to countries on the assessing the economic costs/benefits of adaptation
- Regular policy dialogue forums with Ministries of Planning/Finance and line Ministries conducted at the country and regional level to discuss the economics of adaptation in the context of national and sub-national medium and long-term national development planning process.
- A virtual community of practice working on the economics of adaptation in will be established, with innovative means to share lessons and knowledge, including Live Chats and Webinars- virtual classroom settings where participants discuss issues with the lead mentors as well as each other. The Global ALM platform will avail facilities for the community of practice to share learning materials as well as lessons learned.
The Economics of Climate Change Adaptation programme was launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Adapt Asia-Pacific Project, the Asian Development Bank, the Global Water Partnership and the Yale University in response to the need for a more comprehensive approach for mainstreaming climate change considerations into national planning process to ensure economically-efficient climate change strategies at the sectoral, sub-national and national levels. The programme is comprised of a series of training events aiming to equip government officials in the Asia and the Pacific region with economic tools to help them identify adaptation needs, formulate national adaptation plans and access climate finance for adaptation action. The UNDP in cooperation with the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific Project and the Regional Resource Center for Asia and the Pacific at the Asian Institute of Technology is organizing ten-day Training Programmes on Economics of Climate Change Adaptation, to be held in August 2017 and February 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand. Learn more and apply
Programme Related Documents and Events
Overall Programme Related Documents
Asia Programme Related Events
Communities of Practice, Live Chat and Webinar
'Uniting theory and action: Asia Pacific Economics of Climate Change Adaptation programme relaunches' - UNDP, June 2017. Notice of launch of Phase Two of the ECCA Programme in partnership with the Asian Institute of Technology.