Strengthening Capacity to Address the Risks and Impacts of Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events in Thailand

Introduction

Coastal communities in southern Thailand are amongst the most vulnerable to climate change impacts. Over recent decades, tropical storms, cyclones, floods and coastal erosion have become more frequent and severe, with increasing loss of life and damage to livelihoods, property and infrastructure. Climate change is projected to aggravate existing problems through increased frequency and intensity of existing climate hazards and rising sea levels.

This UNDP-GEF SCCF project will develop mechanisms for communities to identify and articulate their climate risk reduction priorities, with the aim of obtaining sustainable financing for concrete adaptation proposals from provincial and sub-district government budgets in three southern provinces and five sub-district. The project will seek the integration of climate change risks into existing disaster risk management polices and programmes. Most significantly, the project will generate an invaluable body of knowledge and experience on how coastal communities in Thailand can make use of new opportunities to influence public and private investment to promote demand-driven, sustainable and climate resilient development. 

Source: UNDP Thailand Project Document (PIMS 3771)

Project Details

Thailand is prone to a number of climate-related risks including intense rainfall, drought, tropical storms and cyclones, windstorms and storm surges. ADPC (2007) has identified floods, drought and tropical storms as the country’s most serious natural disaster risks, with floods having the highest rate of incidence. Thailand’s climate is classified as tropical savannah in the mainland and tropical monsoon in the southern peninsula. The frequency and severity of tropical storms, cyclones, flooding and drought has been increasing across the country in recent decades, with growing associated loss of life and destruction of property, infrastructure and livelihoods.

Since 1950, more than 40 million people have been affected by hydro-meteorological hazards such as floods, droughts, and windstorms. Between 2001-2004, tropical storms, floods and droughts are estimated to have cost the country over US$ 3.25 million as well causing over 710 fatalities and 500 injuries. Flooding was responsible for the greatest number of fatalities, while drought resulted in the highest economic losses.

Thailand’s densely populated and economically valuable coastal areas are especially vulnerable to climate-related hazards, particularly in the southern peninsula, which is bordered by the Gulf of Thailand to the east and the Andaman Sea to the west. Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and destructive in southern Thailand, as a result of heavier storms and strong winds. Damage caused by flooding has been greatest in the southern peninsula compared to other regions. Increased rainfall and ocean-induced flooding are placing pressure on existing drainage and flood control facilities, while ocean-induced flooding is also causing salinization of land and fresh water resources as well as adversely affecting natural wetlands.

Coastal erosion has also become an increasingly pressing issue on both coasts, but particularly along the Gulf of Thailand, forcing the relocation of households and infrastructure, sometimes more than once. Six hundred kilometers of Thailand’s coastline experience erosion levels of more than one meter annually. The World Bank in 2006 estimated that approximately 2 square kilometerss of coastal ‘real estate’ valued at US$ 156 million was being lost each year due to erosion.

Thailand’s coastal areas will are expected to experience the following specific climate change impacts:

  • An increase in aquatic and terrestrial pests and diseases
  • Increased frequency and severity of tropical storms
  • Increased coastal erosion caused by storms and sea level rise, including the disappearance of some beaches
  • Sea-water inundation in low lying coastal areas
  • Salt-water intrusion into aquifers and other freshwater resources
  • A reduction in mangrove forests with associated impacts on fish and bird species, due to sea level rise
  • Increased incidence of coral bleaching due to rises in sea surface temperatures

These projections have grave implications for Thailand’s continued economic development and for the wellbeing of its coastal population. Many of the 13 million people living in Thailand’s coastal provinces, or 20% of the country’s total population, rely directly or indirectly on climate-sensitive coastal and marine resources for their livelihoods, particularly in the tourism and fisheries sectors.  Tourism accounts for 7% of national GDP and is a major source of both employment and foreign exchange. Although fisheries accounts for only 1% of national GDP, it is an important source of employment, particularly in coastal areas. Fisheries and fishery products also generate valuable foreign exchange. Among the coastal population, certain socio-economic groups, such as the small-scale and artisanal fishers and tourism operators, are particularly vulnerable to current and future climate risks.

Adaptation planning in Thailand’s coastal areas is likely to be most effective when local communities are able to fully understand and analyze their climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation options, and empowered to shape and implement locally appropriate adaptation strategies. The project will further equip vulnerable local communities with the knowledge, skills and resources needed to:

  • Fully understand their climate change-induced problems
  • Define and prioritize adaptation strategies, including the human, technical and financial resources needed to implement these
  • Obtain longer-term public and financial  support for community-based adaptation, especially through provincial and sub-district government development plans and budgets

To achieve these outcomes, the project will need to address several barriers as described below. These relate to the root causes described earlier and correspond to the barriers identified in the hazards and adaptive-capacity based approaches of the Adaptation Policy Framework (UNDP 2005).

Source: UNDP Thailand Project Document (PIMS 3771)

Thematic Area: 
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Communities in low-lying coastal zones threatened by increasing intensity and frequency of tropical storms, flooding, winds as well as those whose livelihoods may be lost due to salinization of agricultural lands.
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Thai Red Cross Society
Thailand Department of Disaster Prevention & Mitigation (DDPM)
Thailand Ministry of Interior
Thailand Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Project Status: 
Under Implementation
Location: 
Rural
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
870,000 (as of September 4, 2009)
Co-Financing Total: 
2,700,000 (as of September 4, 2009)

Key Results and Outputs

  • Outcome 1: Increased knowledge and awareness of climate-related risks and impacts in vulnerable coastal communities
    • Output 1.1: Climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation options of 10 target communities systematically analyzed and documented through participatory and gender-sensitive climate change Vulnerability and Capacity Assessments (VCA)
    • Output 1.2: Key public service providers and decision-makers at the sub-district and village levels have increased ability to integrate climate change risk reduction and community-based adaptation into coastal development planning
    • Output 1.3: Priority community climate risk reduction proposals integrated into Community Development Plans and submitted for approval and financing by sub-district government
    • Output 1.4: Increased TRCS & DDPM capacity for integrating climate change risks into DRM planning and practice
  • Outcome 2: Increased climate risk management and disaster preparedness capacity in vulnerable coastal communities
    • Output 2.1: Up to 10 small-scale adaptation grants provided to target communities to demonstrate priority climate risk reduction measures identified in their Climate Risk Reduction Action Plans
    • Output 2.1: The effectiveness and adaptation potential of at least 2 community-based adaptation measures in target coastal sub-districts systematically assessed
  • Outcome 3: Integration of climate change adaptation into provincial development plans and sector policies
    • Outcome 3.1: Priority community climate risk reduction proposals submitted for provincial government approval and financing
    • Outcome 3.2: Provincial decision-makers, planners and line ministry staff in 3 target provinces understand climate change risks and know how to integrate climate risk reduction measures into coastal development planning
    • Outcome 3.3: Recommendations for strengthening coastal climate risk reduction and community-based adaptation developed and discussed with provincial decision-makers
  • Outcome 4: Project knowledge captured, disseminated and replicated through dedicated follow-up activities
    • Output 4.1: Project knowledge and lessons learned systematically analyzed and documented
    • Output 4.2: Increased awareness of climate change risks and community-based adaptation options and experiences among coastal communities in Thailand
    • Output 4.3: Project knowledge and lessons learned disseminated nationally and internationally through websites, adaptation networks, the media and public events

Source: UNDP Thailand Project Document (PIMS 3771)

Reports and Publications

Monitoring and Evaluation

Project Start:

Project Inception Workshop: will be held within the first 2 months of project start with those with assigned roles in the project organization structure, UNDP country office and where appropriate/feasible regional technical policy and programme advisors as well as other stakeholders.  The Inception Workshop is crucial to building ownership for the project results and to plan the first year annual work plan. 

Daily:

Day to day monitoring of implementation progress: will be the responsibility of the Project Manager, based on the project's Annual Work Plan and its indicators, with overall guidance from the Project Director. The Project Team will inform the UNDP-CO of any delays or difficulties faced during implementation so that the appropriate support or corrective measures can be adopted in a timely and remedial fashion.

Quarterly:

Project Progress Reports (PPR): quarterly reports will be assembled based on the information recorded and monitored in the UNDP Enhanced Results Based Management Platform. Risk analysis will be logged and regularly updated in ATLAS.

Annually:

Annual Project Review/Project Implementation Reports (APR/PIR): This key report is prepared to monitor progress made since project start and in particular for the previous reporting period (30 June to 1 July).  The APR/PIR combines both UNDP and GEF reporting requirements.  

Periodic Monitoring through Site Visits: 

UNDP CO and the UNDP RCU will conduct visits to project sites based on the agreed schedule in the project's Inception Report/Annual Work Plan to assess first hand project progress.  Other members of the Project Board may also join these visits.  A Field Visit Report/BTOR will be prepared by the CO and UNDP RCU and will be circulated no less than one month after the visit to the project team and Project Board members.

Mid-Term of Project Cycle:

Mid-Term Evaluation: will determine progress being made toward the achievement of outcomes and will identify course correction if needed.  It will focus on the effectiveness, efficiency and timeliness of project implementation; will highlight issues requiring decisions and actions; and will present initial lessons learned about project design, implementation and management.  Findings of this review will be incorporated as recommendations for enhanced implementation during the final half of the project's term.  

End of Project:  

Final Evaluation: will take place three months prior to the final Project Board meeting and will be undertaken in accordance with UNDP and GEF guidance.  The final evaluation will focus on the delivery of the project’s results as initially planned (and as corrected after the mid-term evaluation, if any such correction took place).  The final evaluation will look at impact and sustainability of results, including the contribution to capacity development and the achievement of global environmental benefits/goals.  The Terminal Evaluation should also provide recommendations for follow-up activities.

Project Terminal Report: This comprehensive report will summarize the results achieved (objectives, outcomes, outputs), lessons learned, problems met and areas where results may not have been achieved.  It will also lie out recommendations for any further steps that may need to be taken to ensure sustainability and replicability of the project's results.

Learning and Knowledge Sharing:

Results from the project will be disseminated within and beyond the project intervention zone through existing information sharing networks and forums. 

The project will identify and participate, as relevant and appropriate, in scientific, policy-based and/or any other networks, which may be of benefit to project implementation though lessons learned. The project will identify, analyze, and share lessons learned that might be beneficial in the design and implementation of similar future projects.

Establish a two-way flow of information between this project and other projects of a similar focus. 

Source: UNDP Thailand Project Document (PIMS 3771)

Contacts

UNDP
Yusuke Taishi
Regional Technical Advisor
UNDP
Sutharin Koonphol
Country Officer