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Water and Climate Change in the Lower Mekong Basin: Diagnosis and Recommendations for Adaptation

This Project focused on analyzing some of the main issues related to climate change adaptation in two areas; Tonle Sap area of Cambodia and The Mekong Delta of Vietnam.

Funding source: Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Principal investigator : Dr.Olli Varis
Partners: Water and Development Research group. Helsingki University of Technology (TKK), Finland (Project Leader)
Researchers: Marko Keshinen ,Matti Kummu, Paula Nuorteva, Kaisa Vastila,Dr.Anond Snidvongs, Suppakorn Chinvanno.
Timeframe: March 2008-Jan 2009
Period: 11 months
Status: Completed

This research was carried out jointly by Water & Development Research Group at the Helsinki University of Technology, Finland and Southeast Asia START Regional Center at Chulalongkorn University. This Project focused on analyzing some of the main issues related to climate change adaptation in two areas; Tonle Sap area of Cambodia and The Mekong Delta of Vietnam.

The research project focused on four thematic components:

  1. Climate change scenarios: The result from climate change scenarios indicate that the Mekong Region will be warmer and wetter
  2. Hydrological Impacts: The future flood pulse in the Tonle Sap and the Cambodian floodplains is likely to be wetter with higher levels and more extensive flooded area as well as longer flood duration.
  3. Livelihoods and Local Adaptation strategies: This component looked at the livelihoods and their resilience as well as local adaptation capacity to environmental and water related changes. The findings from the field research in the Tonle Sap as well as from the stakeholder consultation in the Mekong Delta indicated that any efforts to enhance local adaptation capacity should build on existing livelihoods and strengths at the local level as well as lessons learnt from the unexceptional events of the past.
  4. Adaptation Policies: The analysis of climate change adaptation policies show that both Cambodia and Vietnam are actively engaged in developing their strategies and policies to respond to climate change impacts.

The analysis of the hydrological impacts of climate change indicated that both of our study areas, the Tonle Sap and the Mekong Delta, are particularly vulnerable. It is important to note that when discussing climate change, the focus should not be on climate change alone, but it must include adaptation to overall environmental changes due to different ‘change factors’ as climate change does not occur in isolation.

See also : Water and development research group

Gallery

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Estimated change in the flooded area in the Mekong Delta in the future ,compared to the present day

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Estimated change in the flooded duration in the Mekong Delta in the future ,compared to the present day

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Estimated on extended future flood areas, potentially affecting the shrimp ponds located in the coastal areas of the delta.

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Estimated future occurrence of serious flood (>50 cm) that starts before end of August i.e. before the harvest of summer-autumn rice crop.

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Workshop on rapid assessment of impact, vulnerability and adaptation to changing climate and flood regimes in the Mekong river delta -3-4 March, 2009- Dragon institute - Mekong - Cantho university .

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