“The impact of climate change does not only affect our environment, but it also links to the economic and social dimensions, especially the well-being of our citizens in each area. A development plan that responds to local issues and needs and that takes into account the climate change impact in each area is therefore essential”, said Dr. Phirun Saiyasitpanich, Deputy Secretary General, the Office of Natural Resources and Environment (ONEP).
Sixty provinces learned how to integrate climate change aspects with provincial development planning from the training courses held between September 2019 and July 2020. The training is being organised by the Office of Natural Resources and Environment (ONEP) and Thai-German Climate Programme – Policy (TGCP – Policy) of GIZ Thailand.
Prolonged droughts in every region of Thailand, an increase in the number of hotter days and higher temperatures in the north, sea level rise and coastal erosion in the east and south, and severe floods in the central plains are examples of the impact of climate change. Different geography results in different impacts. As each province already has a provincial development plan, integrating climate change aspects with existing plans and its implementation taking account of specific issues can be challenging.
Climate change was incorporated in the national strategy 2018 – 2037 and Climate Change Master Plan 2015 – 2050 as a guideline to combat climate change in Thailand and mainstreaming climate change into planning development and implementation has been promoted at the central, regional and local levels.
But do we mainstream climate action into the provincial level substantially and sustainably?
The answer is to place importance on developing the local context including economic, social and environment aspects to the climate change actions. Provincial personnel need to develop knowledge and skills in this area and focus on tangible implementation as well as their ability to cope with social, economic and environment impacts. Systematic and sustainable planning and implementation therefore play a significant role.
The training on the “Integration of climate change aspect into provincial development planning” is being organised for representatives from line agencies in 60 provinces. The training is divided into 2 continuous modules and focuses on the following topics.
Prioritisation of sustainable development and climate change issues at the provincial level
From August – November 2020 following the completion of the training, between 5 and 10 provinces will be selected for piloting and provided with in-depth support for the process of integration of the planning.
However, the success of implementation in the province will not come from the number of integrated plans but when the key problems in the local context addressed in the plan are resolved. Local issues should be solved concretely with the support of relevant agencies, both central and local. This is an approach designed to build sustainable development at all levels. It will not only solve current problems or shortcomings but also provide sustainability in the long run.