Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in GMS rural communities

Rural communities in the GMS are particularly vulnerable to climate change. While there is considerable indigenous knowledge within communities on managing climate-related risks, understanding how a community’s vulnerability profile will change from climate and non-climate risks is essential for empowering local people to develop strategies for a climate-resilient future.

In 2010, CEP conducted a study on biodiversity, food security, water resources and livelihoods in the GMS. The study identified a need to better understand the potential impacts of climate change on rural communities through an appropriate assessment methodology. To inform adaptation planning at the community level, the methodology must be simple, practical, and participatory.

In response, CEP developed and tested a participatory framework to conduct local-level climate vulnerability assessment and identify adaptation responses. The framework incorporates the use of participatory rural appraisal (PRA) tools i.e. participatory hazard mapping, cropping and event calendars, household surveys and group discussions. During 2011 and 2012, the framework was tested on selected agricultural communities in three countries: Xe Pian-Dong Hua Sao in Lao PDR, Tenasserim in Thailand, and Ngoc Linh-Xe Sap in Viet Nam. In mid-2014, lessons from the study were captured in the publication "Climate Change and Rural Communities in the GMS: A Framework for Assessing Vulnerability and Adaptation Options."

Building on this work, in early 2015, the Southeast Asia START Regional Center was engaged by CEP to:

  • Develop a communication package for GMS practitioners on the principles of climate change and adaptation.
  • Enhance the framework and method (developed during CEP Phase I) to assess climate vulnerability and adaptation options at the community level.
  • Develop guidelines for community-level assessment and adaptation planning.
  • Develop a training curriculum and conduct three training workshops for GMS practitioners. 
  • Develop an online platform to support adaptation planning in the GMS, featuring climate projections data, analytical tools, as well as training materials and guidelines. 

From August 2016 to February 2017, a three phase training module was delivered to government planners from Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam to enable them to work with communities involved in the Biodiversity Conservation Corridors project and effectively integrate climate change considerations into community development plans. Training of trainers and national language materials, plus an online portal will be developed so that the community assessments and adaptation planning can be scaled-up.



File Name Size Modified
Risks​_and​_Adaptation​_in​_Climate​_Change​_in​_BCI​_Sites.pdf 4 MB 22-01-2013

Publish Date: 1st June 2012

Last Updated: 24th February 2017

See also

GMS Working Group on Environment 24th Annual Meeting

1st April 2019

The 24th Annual Meeting of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Working Group (WG) on Environment reviewed the achievements of the GMS Core Environment Program Phase II and discussed the way forward. WGE AM-24 was hosted by the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) with support from ADB through the GMS Environment Operations Center.


The WGE AM-24 was followed by thematic discussions that covered the proposed new programs entitled: "GMS Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Program (CCESP)" and "GMS Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program (SAFSP)" which are aligned with three out of seven operational priorities of Strategy 2030 approved by the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board in 2018.


The CCESP will focus on ADB Strategy 2030’s operational priority: tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability, while SAFSP will focus on ADB Strategy 2030’s operational priority: promoting rural development and food security. Both programs will support ADB Strategy 2030’s operational priority: fostering regional cooperation and integration.


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Lao PDR: Improving Lives and Saving Forests

10th December 2018

In the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, a community is creating products without damaging the environment, and empowering women in the process.

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