News | 30 Jan, 2023

Increasing resilience of cities in Thailand through Nature-based Solutions

A project aimed to increase resilience of urban areas in Thailand officially launched on 17 January, with a kick-off event held in Bangkok. IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature), through its Thailand country programme, is set to utilise Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to strengthen the capacity of two provinces in the country to prepare for future disasters.  

Bangkok, Thailand, 17 January 2023: The “Urban Resilience Building and Nature” project is the first in Thailand that fully applies the Global NbS Standard for Nature-based Solutions, developed by IUCN, to enhance urban climate resiliency. With the Department of Water Resources of Thailand as its political partner, the project has tasked IUCN Thailand country programme with its development and implementation. It brings together four partners - Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, Thailand Environment Institute (TEI) as well as Urban Design and Development Center.  

The project, funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUV), will target two provinces in its implementation – Chiang Rai in northern Thailand as well as Surat Thani in the south. These two urban provinces have suffered from cases of flash floods, forest fires, urban sprawl, among others. 

A key component of this project is applying NbS to demonstrate how they can enhance urban resilience to climate change. NbS leverage nature and the power of healthy ecosystems to protect people, optimize infrastructure and safeguard a stable and biodiverse future. IUCN has been one of the world’s leaders in promoting and supporting NbS, particularly through the Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions launched in 2020. "We also hope to ensure that NbS be mainstreamed into the relevant local and provincial development policies,” stressed Dr Dindo Campilan, Regional Director of IUCN Asia and Hub Director for Oceania.  

As the next step, the project will establish two committees both tasked with monitoring and supporting its implementation in the two provinces. The entire project will be science-driven and evidence-based, relying on technologies such as climate risk models and urban nature indices, which can be used to effectively monitor the ecological indicators in the target sites. It is expected to be completed by 2028.  

Mr Jiravat Ratisoontorn, Deputy-Secretary-General, Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP), Thailand, pointed out: “Climate change cannot be dealt with in isolation. All the project partners need to work together to mitigate climate change and protect urban biodiversity by using NbS as a critical instrument to demonstrate the interventions that can be implemented in all partners.”  The project builds on a broad multi-stakeholder platform to harness the knowledge, capacities and resources at various levels of governance – from national agencies to local communities. 

“Today, the world has considered nothing as efficient and best suited as using nature to help nature. This is the reason that made us come together today,” Mr Bhadol Thavornkitcharat, Director General, Department of Water Resources, pointed out. Dr Ulf D. Jeackel, Head of Unit, T III 2 European and International Affairs of Climate Change Adaptation, BMUV, emphasized “the urgency of adaptation measures in urban areas” and expressed hope that the project would bear fruit.  

More than 70 people from government agencies and consortium members attended the meeting. The participants discussed the overview of the project while also sharing the details of each work package.