Inter-Agency Policy Dialogue“Integrating Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) into the Thai Water Sector” on 2 December 2019 (Photo credit:ONWR)
A high-level Policy Dialogue between the Office of the Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) and the Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR) was held on 2 December 2019 in Bangkok. The dialogue emphasised the need for cross-agency and multi-level collaboration to make Thailand’s water resources management more climate-resilient in the face of the adverse impacts of climate change.
ONEP is the agency in charge of climate change policies and ONWR is the lead regulatory agency for Thailand’s water resources management and the focal point for the implementation of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP).
Under the umbrella of the 2018 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ONEP and ONWR, the two agencies agreed to issue a joint Policy Brief to guide the water sector on priorities to integrate climate change adaptation into the Thai water sector. This should include a further alignment of relevant policies and plans at the national level (e.g. National Adaptation Plan – 20 Years Water Resources Management Master Plan) as well as strong cooperation with the local-level River Basin Committees (RBCs) to ensure the integration of climate information and the selection of respective adaptation actions in river basin management.
In this respect, the meeting discussed ways to drive awareness for the different options of climate change adaptation measures. This should encourage the use of ‘green’ Ecosystem-based Adaptation or “EbA” solutions that focus on the benefits from the restoration and sustainable management of natural ecosystems, and so-called hybrid measures (a mix of EbA and ‘grey’ measures that use more classical infrastructure and engineering structures). These adaptation options for water resources management can complement the current approach of mostly large-scale infrastructure solutions and contribute to increased climate resilience of the water sector including benefits for other sectors such as agriculture and health.
“ONWR as a regulating agency needs to work closely with ONEP to mobilise the integration of climate change into the water sector. I hope that Thailand’s efforts will be recognised on the international stage when applying various [climate change adaptation] options and mechanisms in line with international standards” – Dr. Somkiat Prajumwong, Secretary General, ONWR
The Policy Dialogue identified the integrated use of scientific climate and risk information as well as data sharing between government agencies as a key field of work to drive the integration of adaptation at all levels in the Thai water sector. Awareness raising and capacity building need to be driven as a cross-cutting issue. The water component of the Thai-German Climate Programme (TGCP), implemented by GIZ, is facilitating these processes in close cooperation with its key partner ONWR as well as with other key water-related agencies.
The results of the Policy Dialogue were reflected in two further workshops hosted by ONWR and supported by GIZ for water-related agencies and ONWR staff at an operational level on 3-4 December 2019. Participants were informed about Thailand’s climate change adaptation strategies and how the water sector can mainstream adaptation into their work. Presentations on examples for climate-sensitive water management and the use of ecosystem-based solutions from the city of Cologne, Germany as well as a “5 Dimensions” tool for assessing the level of mainstreaming in the water sector were given to provide Thailand with the opportunity to learn from international best practices and make best use of Germany’s support to drive the integration of climate change adaptation in the water sector.
5 Dimension Framework
TGCP-Water introduced an easy-to-use analysis tool called 5 Dimensions Framework as a quick self-assessment and reflection exercise to sensitise policy-makers and practitioners on the level of Climate Change Adaptation in the Thai water sector.
The framework facilitates a structured reflection on mainstreaming in specific working contexts. It reduces the complexity of mainstreaming by identifying basic areas (or dimensions), in which mainstreaming becomes evident. These are: institutional settings; rules and regulations; range of topics; financial resources and awareness and public participation.