Addressing ecosystem challenges through support to the Mekong River Commission’s Climate Change and Adaptation Initiative (CCAI)

At a glance

2012-01-01 to 2017-12-30
Completed programmes
Mekong River Commission
Total budget
11,55 M€

The scope of the Climate Change Adapation Initiative (CCAI) is climate change impact assessment and adaptation planning and implementation of adaptation interventions integrated with development planning within the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB). It is cross-cutting touching on almost every aspects of water management (flood and drought, irrigation, hydropower development, etc) and includes institutional, planning, environmental and socio-economic issues, as well as coping strategies including building resilience and enhancing adaptive capacity. The initiative would help address transboundary Climate Change impact and also look at climate change adaptation from a regional angle.

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
5,000,000.00 €

Overall objective

An economically prosperous, socially just and environmentally sound Mekong River Basin, responsive and adapting to the challenges induced by climate change, reflecting the overall vision of the MRC. Inherent to this goal is a commitment to poverty reduction, gender responsiveness and ecological sustainability in adapting to climate change.

Specific objective

The objective is for climate change adaptation planning and implementation to be guided by strategies and plans at various levels and in priority locations throughout the Lower Mekong Basin.


CCAI views climate change adaptation through a regional lens, aiming to build adaptive capacity in the four Member Countries based on needs and encompassing the sectors covered by Mekong River Commission's mandate, including flood and drought, agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, hydropower, and river transport.

In the first five-year phase 2011-2015, CCAI aims to achieve that :

  • Member countries and Mekong River Commission pilot and demonstrate adapta­tion planning and implementa­tion throughout the region and draw lessons learned from practices to im­prove adaptation performance;
  • Member countries improve capacity to adapt to climate change at different levels, including capacity to use tools and methods for different adaptation planning stages;
  • Member countries and Mekong River Commission have in place strategies and plans for adaptation at various levels, which are regu­larly monitored and updated as well as integrated into development plans;
  • Member countries and Mekong River Commission implement regional cooperation, exchange and learning through partnerships in a fully gender responsive and sustainable way.


The main activities of the CCAI 2011-2015 include:

  • Climate change adaptation demonstration and pilot activities in prioritised locations,
  • Regional climate change and adaptation database, monitoring and reporting system,
  • Regional integrated climate and hydrological analysis,
  • Regional assessments of climate change impacts on hydrology, ecosystems and biodiversity, floods, droughts, food security and hydropower,
  • Regional Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan,
  • Appropriate regional climate change scenarios,
  • Guides on integrating priority regional and transboundary issues into national adaptation plans, guides for local adaptation plans, guides for integrating climate change and adaptation into environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment, guides for sector specific adaptation plans and action plans for transboundary natural systems,
  • A network of local projects adapting to climate change impacts,
  • Reports on status of climate change and adaptation in the Lower Mekong Basin, every three years,
  • Mekong Climate Change Forums, every three years, sharing knowledge and provide networking platform between people and organisations working on climate change adaptation in the Lower Mekong Basin,
  • Training and learning events for different target groups, including government agencies and communities,
  • Training for trainers on approaches and tools for climate change adaptation planning.

Achievements to date

The CCAI completed both the 1st batch of four demonstration projects and the 2nd batch of five demonstration projects in Member Countries. These demonstration projects were considered as a very good exercise for climate change adaptation planning and implementation. For example, the local demonstration project for climate change adaptation of agricultural sector in the Young River Basin, Thailand was successful to provide the climate change adaptation measures to the farmers in the communities. Results and lessons learnt from the demonstration projects were well received by local governments in the respective provinces.

The main products of CCAI include the climate change and adaptation databases, methods and tools for climate change modeling and analysis, vulnerability and impacts assessment tools for adaptation planning, basin-wide assessments of climate change impacts on hydrology, flood, drought, ecosystem and biodiversity, food security, hydropower and socio-economics, synthesis report of good practice, replication and upscaling of demonstration projects in the Low Mekong Basin, and most importantly, a Mekong Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan (MASAP) endorsed in 2017.

The MASAP defines appropriate regional climate change scenarios, and development of a basin-wide monitoring and reporting system on climate change and adaptation.

By the end of June 2017, CCAI completed 5 of the 7 regional capacity building activities and four national Capacity Building Plans. The CCAI capacity building activities in the forms of training, study tour and experience sharing have helped enhancing awareness of decision makers in the Low Mekong Basin on the needs and importance of addressing transboundary impacts of climate change leading to the adoption of a Mekong Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan (MASAP).

The CCAI Gender Responsiveness Plan is in place and implemented. The gender training for CCAI regional team, CCAI national teams and staff from line agencies who are involved in implementing CCAI activities was completed. Individual action plan to mainstream gender in each staff work was prepared and has been implemented. Furthermore, gender issues and actions were included in the adopted MASAP.

Challenges and lessons learned

In the future, the EU should collaborate with the Mekong River Commission Secretariat in developing approaches addressing the regional dimension of climate change adaptation by:

  • Building regional capacities to govern the transboundary CCA issues in strengthening the IWRM of the Mekong River Basin, and
  • Developing mechanisms that engage private sector and cover multisector challenges at the transnational level.