New guidebook promotes Ecosystem-based Adaptation within Thailand’s Water Sector
Following a series of consultations and trainings with national stakeholders in 2022, Thailand’s Office of the National Water Resources, together with IUCN and GIZ have launched The Guidebook for the Design and Implementation of Ecosystem-Based Adaptation in River Basins in Thailand. The guidebook aims to serve as a framework for developing, implementing and mainstreaming Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) measures in river basins throughout Thailand.
In Thailand, both national and local governments are increasingly considering EbA as an important means of providing climate change adaptation benefits while simultaneously restoring ecological integrity and strengthening biodiversity. This momentum is further amplified by the current and future impacts of climate change on water resources. While there have been some pilot studies on EbA throughout the country, there is a need to upscale these efforts to address increasing climate threats. Recent research on changes in precipitation in Thailand have shown a trend towards wetter wet seasons and drier dry seasons, potentially leading to increases in flooding (and associated flash floods and landslides) and drought.
Therefore, the Thai government has highlighted a need to support the country’s 22 River Basin Committees and the relevant government agencies responsible for water management and climate change adaptation, to better design, implement and monitor EbA measures in their work. To address this need, The Guidebook for the Design and Implementation of Ecosystem-Based Adaptation in River Basins in Thailand was developed by IUCN, with inputs from the Thai government, GIZ, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and numerous other partners under the Thai-German Climate Programme-Water, a project funded by the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.
“In Thailand, water resource management is one of the key sectors that will be impacted by climate change. We cooperated with IUCN and GIZ to develop an EbA Guidebook outlining the procedures for integrating Integrated Water Resources Management and EbA at the river basin level, in consultation with all sectors including government agencies, the private sector, River Basin Committees and stakeholders to strengthen the framework for working together,” said Mr Attapong Chantanumate, Director of the Policy and Master Plan Division, Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR), Thailand.
Part 1 of the Guidebook provides a background of the development of the concept of Nature-Based Solutions and how it links to EbA. It guides the reader through several key criteria to consider when developing EbA interventions, while introducing key EbA approaches in river basins.
Part 2 provides a step-wise flexible framework for designing, implementing and monitoring effective EbA measures to address climate impacts in each of the 22 river basins in Thailand. The eight steps intend to guide stakeholders in: 1) conducting a stocktaking of the available information in the focal area; 2) carrying out a climate risk vulnerability assessment to understand the current and future climate threats and vulnerable areas; 3) mapping the key ecosystems and ecosystem services to understand which ecosystem-based measures can address the climate threats; 4) developing an EbA vision for the focal area, highlighting the community aspirations; 5) developing a Theory of Change to identify and validate EbA measures; 6) developing indicators and monitoring and evaluating the EbA measures; 7) implementing the measures and finally, 8) using the results to further influence relevant policies at both the local and national levels.
The Guidebook is complemented by the Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Tool developed by the Hydro Informatics Institute, which provides a step-wise approach for conducting climate risk vulnerability assessments, as well as the EbA Code of Practice (COP) developed by the Thailand Environment Institute to help inform the design of EbA measures. The project team also conducted a series of consultations and trainings with government officials and River Basin Committees to ensure that the tools are suitable for their work.
“ONWR’s effort to integrate EbA in the water sector at the national scale is an excellent example of how governments in the region can build on previous experiences from EbA projects at the local scale, and work to strategically scale-up implementation. This can serve as an example for other countries to support the mainstreaming of EbA at scale and across sectors to support future climate change adaptation,” said Raphael Glemet, Senior Programme Officer, Water and Wetlands at IUCN Asia Regional Office.