Climate Change

Climate change puts people, the economy and natural resources in the GMS at risk. Increasing weather variability, more frequent extreme weather events and shifting rainfall patterns are among key threats. The next decade could see a decline in agricultural yields and available freshwater, and further degradation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Major GMS investments in energy and transport, particularly in the Mekong delta and along the coastal areas, are vulnerable to sea level rise.

Climate change impacts the poorest disproportionately. Rural people - comprising nearly 67 percent of the GMS population - are particularly vulnerable due to their dependence on climate-sensitive natural resources and limited adaptive capacity. Improved planning and appropriate investments in climate change adaptation is needed to safeguard development gains and further reduce poverty in the GMS.

There is also a clear need to improve efforts in the GMS to mitigate climate change. Forests in the GMS, which are important reservoirs of carbon, have reduced by 8 million hectares since 1990 – an area equivalent to almost one third the size of Lao PDR.  During the same period, greenhouse gas emissions from energy use in the GMS (excluding PRC) grew by 120%. Climate finance and new technology must be harnessed to promote low-carbon development.

CEP is working to integrate climate change considerations in development planning and biodiversity conservation in the GMS. Our focus is on:

 Building capacity to plan for climate change by

  • Helping practitioners assess risks and plan for climate change adaptation.
  • Formulating climate-smart conservation plans for biodiversity landscapes.

 Strengthening national monitoring systems by

  • Building the capacity of local stakeholders to monitor forest resources (REDD+ readiness).
  • Testing methods for monitoring greenhouse gas reductions under Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs).

 Developing and testing adaptation and mitigation options by

  • Assessing the feasibility of options, including new technology, ecosystem-based approaches and financing modalities, to promote climate-resilient and low carbon development.
  • Working with rural communities and small enterprises to pilot cost-effective adaptation and mitigation options and leverage investments to scale up.

Click here to find out more about these activities and other CEP work on climate change.

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