Mainstreaming climate change into community development strategies and plans: a case study in Thailand
The authors present a case study demonstrating the mainstreaming of climate change into a local development plan in the Lao-oi District of Thailand. This community is built around wet-season, rain-fed rice production, the main threat to which is flooding; eight of the last ten years have seen flooding which is estimated to have resulted in the loss of around 40 per cent of total production. The limited climate data available suggests that the district will likely face an increased risk of flooding in the future. Under the old paradigm, the identification of this risk may have led to measures to protect wet-season farming; the community instead decided to extend their irrigation system from the river to increase dry-season growing capacity. However, the climate model also indicates longer, dryer summers and a reliance on a single water source represents a potentially unsustainable future vulnerability. In this case, the government should increase the carrying capacity of a reservoir to the north of the district to hold more of the wet-season rains.
This multi-level mainstreaming of climate change can be highly complimentary and offer resilience in the face of future uncertainty. It will require the development of systematic climate change knowledge transfer and significant cooperation and communication between all stakeholders.