The representatives of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand and Improved Management of Extreme Events through Ecosystem-based Adaptation in Watersheds Project visited Germany and met the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection on a knowledge exchange trip on flood risk reduction and Ecosystem-based Adaptation on 19 – 25 June 2017. The fruitful meeting leads to an agreement to intensify cooperation in the future.
Mr. Pongboon Pongthong, Deputy Permanent Secretary of MONRE, 4 representatives of DWR and 2 employees of ECOSWat visited 3 sites in Germany, namely the Isar River Restoration close to Munich, the Danube restoration, and the Nature Conservation and Landscape Preservation and Floodplains of the river Rhine near Rastatt, where EbA measures have been successfully implemented.
The Isar River Restoration is a good example of urban river restoration. Besides the main benefit of enhancing flood protection, the measure has also increased biodiversity and provided a recreation area.
Since 1992, the Danube Programme (IDP) has been working on improving flood protection in the Danube river basin. The Federal State of Baden-Wurttemberg has implemented EbA measurements at many sites. The floodplains were reactivated over almost 4 k kilometres to prevent flooding. The project is also protecting biodiversity and rare species.
A Life Science project at Rastatt not only improved flood protection but conserved nearly extinct species by restoring the wetlands and floodplains.
Department of Water Resources (DWR) under the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment (MoNRE) is currently planning the implementation of Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) measures in 3 pilot river basins, namely Huai Sai Bart in Khon Kaen province, Tha Di in Nakhon Si Thammarat province and Lumphachi in Ratchaburi province. EBA is the measure considered most appropriate for helping to prevent floods and droughts in these areas.
“It is impressive to see how Germany can maintain its environment. The rivers are so clean and clear even though they flow through big cities. The challenge for implementation of EbA in Thailand is how the cooperation between different stakeholders can be built. Land use can be another obstacle for implementation of EbA in Thailand.” – Mr. Ukrit Yonthantham: Foreign Relations Officer, Bureau of International Cooperation, Department of Water Resources
“I have a much better understanding as a result of this trip and am convinced that EbA is a sustainable water management measure. It is similar to Sufficiency Economy Philosophy initiated by our beloved late King. This approach can ensure a balanced way of life with full respect for the environment. Cooperation among different sectors will be the key to successful EbA implementation in Thailand. – Mr. Nirut Koonphol: Director of Bureau of International Cooperation, Department of Water Resources
Ecosystem based Adaptation (EbA) is defined as the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change (CBD, 2009). In the water sector, EbA measures such as wetland development, floodplains and river basin restoration have been widely appliedin Europe.