The Royal Thai Government launches with UNDP support a new climate change adaptation project financed by the Green Climate Fund

Source(s): United Nations Development Programme - Thailand

Increasing resilience to climate change impacts in marine and coastal areas along the Gulf of Thailand.

Over 80 participants representing the Thai government, academia, non-governmental organisations and the private sector convened at the Pullman Hotel in Bangkok for the launch of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) financed programme titled "Increasing resilience to climate change impacts in marine and coastal areas along the Gulf of Thailand." The GCF approved a USD $3 million grant for Thailand (to be implemented by UNDP) over a four-year period starting  August 2020.  

This programme was developed in collaboration between the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP), the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, both under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) and UNDP in Thailand. The programme was launched with key partners discussing its concept, objectives and expected outcomes and the overall implementation plan.

Thailand’s coastal zones are rich with biodiversity, marine life and mangroves that are distributed along both coasts of Thailand’s 24 provinces. With Thailand located in the monsoon region, it is highly susceptible to extreme climate events, such as sea-level rise, flooding, cyclones and erosion. Healthy mangrove systems offer tremendous protection to coastal communities against storm surge and coastal erosion; they are also critical nursery areas that help support local fisheries and overall marine biodiversity.

With over 1 million tourists visiting Phang Nga Bay annually, Thailand is working to protect and adapt its marine and coastal areas to the onsets of climate change. Climate change will impact local tourism, agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture and natural resources while creating additional stress on land and water resources. To address this issue, this new programme will support the Kingdom of Thailand to advance climate change adaptation planning in relation to marine and coastal areas in the Gulf of Thailand. In addition, the programme aims to contribute towards several Sustainable Development Goals as outlined in the 2030 Agenda, including gender-responsive solutions to reduce disaster risks, enabling climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The new GCF-financed programme is an important contribution to Thailand implementing its National Adaptation Plan (NAP) that was finalized in 2018. Throughout the implementation of Thailand’s NAP, the programme will utilize best practices and information from other interventions, such as the “Safe Marine for Life” Project implemented by Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, and will meaningfully expand the knowledge and regulatory framework, particularly for the sub-national levels.

The programme will ensure close coordination among provincial level agencies to set aside budget for fishermen and farmers along coastal areas to better adapt to natural disasters, such as tropical storms and keeping beaches clean in order to maintain eco-friendly tourist destinations.

“I hope this programme will serve as a mechanism for cooperation among our two agencies and drive the implementation of the adaptation process considering climate change factors along Thailand’s coastal areas to create climate resilience. This will also contribute Thailand’s 20-year strategy as well as the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Raweewan Bhuridej, Secretary-General of the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning.

Within the framework of Thailand’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, climate change adaptation is noted as being a “top priority in Thailand's national response to climate change”. To date, Thailand’s GCF-financed programme has focused on NAP preparation, national climate risk modeling and a vulnerability analysis.

“UNDP is a long-time partner to Thailand when it comes to climate action and we have been working with Thai partners at both policy level but also with local communities, on both mitigation and adaptation measures. This new GCF-funded project is timely and will provide a great platform to apply the Bio-Circular-Green development model promoted by Thailand as part of the COVID-19 recovery,” said Renaud Meyer, Resident Representative of UNDP in Thailand during the launch event.

He also emphasized the need to redefine the relationship between humans and nature to ensure a win-win cohabitation. Involving the coastal communities in this effort is both urgent and required to strengthen the resilience of Thailand, safeguard progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and sustain efforts towards sustainability. 

At the country level, the ONEP will act as a key government agency to coordinate and seek collaboration from 12 other relevant government agencies of Thailand. The programme seeks to build additional partnerships with interested development partners, including international organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the private sector. Linkages will be made to this programme through integrated approaches to mainstreaming and piloting adaptation responses in key NAP sectors, including tourism, agriculture, health, and human settlements. 

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