Thailand and Germany join forces to manage the risk of climate change in Yom river basin

Event Calendar Press Releases Wednesday October 9, 2019 11:01
Bangkok--9 Oct--Deutsche Gesellschaft f?r Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

The Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR) with support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH launched joint project activities under the Thai-German Climate Programme – Water component (TGCP–Water) for the Yom river basin in Phrae province. It aims to initiate the cooperation on flood and drought management at the river basin level by integrating climate change information into core planning processes and by guiding the selection and design of mainly ecosystem-based adaptation actions.

Climate change is affecting weather patterns and leading to more extreme events such as heavy rainfall, floods and drought. With water being a vital resource for a multitude of uses, adaptation to climate change in water resources management is crucial.

Mrs. Kanpremprit Chitanon, Phrae governor and chairperson of the Yom River Basin Committee said that "Currently, the problem of climate change resulting in flood and drought in Yom Basin. For Phrae Province, we face with heavy rain and flash floods every rainy season which damage to lives and properties of many people. Nevertheless, people in the area also adjusted by making money from fishing during the floods. In the dry season, due to insufficient water storage/ reservoirs in the upper basin, water for consumption and agriculture are insufficient. This affected majority of people whose main income are from agricultural products "

Yom and Sakaekrang river basins have been chosen as pilot river basins for enhancing a climate-sensitive Integrated Water Resources Management (climate-sensitive IWRM) approach with the aim to strengthen the climate resilience of local communities, secure livelihoods and sustain ecosystem services to adapt to the impacts of climate change and better cope with extreme weather events. Ecosystems can provide valuable benefits like water retention capacities, reduced sedimentation and river bank erosion as well as increased water quality. The pilot project will include the conduct of comprehensive climate risk and vulnerability assessments for long-term planning and support the selection of ecosystem measures for water resources management to be included in the river basin master plan. Ultimately, all 22 river basin master plans shall reflect a climate-sensitive IWRM, outline specific adaptation actions and prioritize nature-based solutions in respond to climate change.

Enhancing adaptation actions in the water sector is one of the priorities of the Thai government. In line with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's pledge to join and implement the Paris Agreement, at the recent United Nations Climate Action Summits during 24-25 September 2015, Thailand on behalf of ASEAN reaffirmed the efforts to tackle climate change and emphasized the importance of international cooperation in advancing partnerships for sustainability in ASEAN and beyond.

Mr. Alexander Raubold, Counsellor of Economic and Commercial Affairs of the German Embassy in Bangkok, expressed: "It is a privilege for Germany to stand side by side with Thailand to address a global challenge such as Climate Change. In the water sector, we are working together to enhance climate resilience in its water management and reduce the impacts of floods and droughts in the communities along the Yom river."

Dr. Somkiat Prajumwong, Secretary-General of ONWR mentioned that ONWR would like to encourage knowledge exchanges among communities. These exchanges would lead to sustainable development based on participatory approach. Solutions should come from the community and accepted by the community. We need a successful model of a watershed development that shows empirical results to the world community. ONWR is ready to support and expand these success stories of the community like an example from "Sa-eab model" here in Phrae province. It focuses on exchange opinions between villagers in the area and government agencies to achieve systematic and sustainable water management and also able to disseminate to other areas as well. "

Mr.Stephan Huppertz, director to TGCP-Water emphasized that "Adapting to climate change requires a holistic approach that incorporates all stakeholders to work together.

Based on GIZ's experience, nature-based solutions and functional ecosystem services have great potential to benefit communities in coping with extreme events and adapt to a changing climate. Ecosystem services are an integral part of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), especially when facing the impacts of climate change in the water sector."

The panel discussion on "Way forward on Climate Change Adaptation for Water Resources Management in Yom River Basin" was also highlighted how adaptation is vital. The panelists were Governor Kanprempree Chitanont, Dr. Natthanich Asvapoositkul, Director of Climate Change Management and Coordination Division, Office of the Natural Resources and Environmental Policy

and Planning, Mr. Stephan Huppertz, Director of TGCP-Water, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Det Wattanachaiyingcharoen, Naresuan University and Dr. Somkiat Prajumwong, Secretary-General of the ONWR.

The event also presented a public exhibition displaying the potential impacts of climate change in Thailand and providing information on key concepts of adaptation actions. Satellite imagery and a live drone operation showed how the land-use and environment of the river basin has changed over time and demonstrated a new method of data collection. All participants, students and local residents were invited to take part in a climate change quiz and paint the wall to express their ideas on the future of "Beautiful Yom".

The event was attended by representatives from the German Embassy, ONWR, Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, GIZ, provincial government agencies, members of the Yom River Basin Committee and communities at Phrae Technical College.


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