Thailand is prone to a number of climate-related risks including intense rainfall, drought, tropical storms and cyclones, windstorms and storm surges. ADPC (2007) has identified floods, drought and tropical storms as the country’s most serious natural disaster risks, with floods having the highest rate of incidence. Thailand’s climate is classified as tropical savannah in the mainland and tropical monsoon in the southern peninsula. The frequency and severity of tropical storms, cyclones, flooding and drought has been increasing across the country in recent decades, with growing associated loss of life and destruction of property, infrastructure and livelihoods.
Since 1950, more than 40 million people have been affected by hydro-meteorological hazards such as floods, droughts, and windstorms. Between 2001-2004, tropical storms, floods and droughts are estimated to have cost the country over US$ 3.25 million as well causing over 710 fatalities and 500 injuries. Flooding was responsible for the greatest number of fatalities, while drought resulted in the highest economic losses.
Thailand’s densely populated and economically valuable coastal areas are especially vulnerable to climate-related hazards, particularly in the southern peninsula, which is bordered by the Gulf of Thailand to the east and the Andaman Sea to the west. Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and destructive in southern Thailand, as a result of heavier storms and strong winds. Damage caused by flooding has been greatest in the southern peninsula compared to other regions. Increased rainfall and ocean-induced flooding are placing pressure on existing drainage and flood control facilities, while ocean-induced flooding is also causing salinization of land and fresh water resources as well as adversely affecting natural wetlands.
Coastal erosion has also become an increasingly pressing issue on both coasts, but particularly along the Gulf of Thailand, forcing the relocation of households and infrastructure, sometimes more than once. Six hundred kilometers of Thailand’s coastline experience erosion levels of more than one meter annually. The World Bank in 2006 estimated that approximately 2 square kilometerss of coastal ‘real estate’ valued at US$ 156 million was being lost each year due to erosion.
Thailand’s coastal areas will are expected to experience the following specific climate change impacts:
- An increase in aquatic and terrestrial pests and diseases
- Increased frequency and severity of tropical storms
- Increased coastal erosion caused by storms and sea level rise, including the disappearance of some beaches
- Sea-water inundation in low lying coastal areas
- Salt-water intrusion into aquifers and other freshwater resources
- A reduction in mangrove forests with associated impacts on fish and bird species, due to sea level rise
- Increased incidence of coral bleaching due to rises in sea surface temperatures
These projections have grave implications for Thailand’s continued economic development and for the wellbeing of its coastal population. Many of the 13 million people living in Thailand’s coastal provinces, or 20% of the country’s total population, rely directly or indirectly on climate-sensitive coastal and marine resources for their livelihoods, particularly in the tourism and fisheries sectors. Tourism accounts for 7% of national GDP and is a major source of both employment and foreign exchange. Although fisheries accounts for only 1% of national GDP, it is an important source of employment, particularly in coastal areas. Fisheries and fishery products also generate valuable foreign exchange. Among the coastal population, certain socio-economic groups, such as the small-scale and artisanal fishers and tourism operators, are particularly vulnerable to current and future climate risks.
Adaptation planning in Thailand’s coastal areas is likely to be most effective when local communities are able to fully understand and analyze their climate change vulnerabilities and adaptation options, and empowered to shape and implement locally appropriate adaptation strategies. The project will further equip vulnerable local communities with the knowledge, skills and resources needed to:
- Fully understand their climate change-induced problems
- Define and prioritize adaptation strategies, including the human, technical and financial resources needed to implement these
- Obtain longer-term public and financial support for community-based adaptation, especially through provincial and sub-district government development plans and budgets
To achieve these outcomes, the project will need to address several barriers as described below. These relate to the root causes described earlier and correspond to the barriers identified in the hazards and adaptive-capacity based approaches of the Adaptation Policy Framework (UNDP 2005).
Source: UNDP Thailand Project Document (PIMS 3771)
There are no related resources for this project.
Financing Amount870,000 (as of September 4, 2009)
Cofinancing Total2,700,000 (as of September 4, 2009)
Communities in low-lying coastal zones threatened by increasing intensity and frequency of tropical storms, flooding, winds as well as those whose livelihoods may be lost due to salinization of agricultural lands.