Water, and Climate Development Program (WACDEP) Regional Workshop Official Press Release

Bangkok, Thailand (12/8/2017). Southeast Asia is particularly vulnerable to climate change for several reasons. First and foremost, in many of these countries large portions of the population live in poverty. The proportion of the population living below the poverty line ranges from the lowest in Thailand at 10.2% to 53% in Lao PDR (ADB 2008). The poor are particularly vulnerable to climate change, as they lack the resources necessary for many types of adaptive actions. With its extensive coastlines, Southeast Asia is also home to many millions of people living at low elevations that are at risk from sea level rise. Moreover, ongoing social and environmental challenges in the region – notably growing income inequality, rising food prices, and widespread deforestation – contribute to social vulnerability and make climate change more likely to bring significant harms.

As the impacts of climate change on water-related issues are likely to increase both in frequency and intensity, Global Water Partnership (GWP) is responding to the climate change and water related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the global Water, Climate and Development Program (WACDEP). WACDEP contributes to improved resilience, through enhanced technical and institutional capacity, and predictable financing and investments in water security and climate change adaptation. WACDEP targets over sixty (60) countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

WACDEP is developed and implemented to support countries in implementing their National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in line with Paris Agreement and to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a focus on SDG 6 on water.

In Southeast Asia, WACDEP has been implemented since 2014 by GWP-SEA. In 2014 – 2016, there have been implemented activities that contributed to the climate change resilience improvement. As the scope of water security and climate change is very broad and based on the lessons learned of WACDEP activities from 2014-206, Global Water Partnership - South East Asia (GWP-SEA) has agreed to anchor WACDEP 2017-2019 in South East Asia to a common issue. Based on the analysis that has been conducted by all eight (8) countries in SEA (Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Lao, Cambodia, Philippines) it was agreed that related to water sector, floods and droughts is considered as the major concern due to climate change and therefore should be the anchor of WACDEP in South East Asia. it is crucial to see whether floods and droughts management issue has been incorporated in the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and being implemented properly in the fields. WACDEP in South East Asia is expected to facilitate the countries in South East Asia to improve climate resilience with floods and droughts management as the focus.

The implementation of WACDEP will be carried out for three (3) years period 2017-2019 with possible extension upon the demand of respective countries and available future funding. The expected outcome of this program is to improve water security and climate change resilience beyond national boundaries in Southeast Asian countries, through enhanced technical and institutional capacity, and predictable financing and investmentsin floods and droughts management. In September 2017, based on the evaluation report of Global Water Partnership Organization (GWPO), there is a need for GWP SEA to improve WACDEP Project Document to contextualize the implementation of WACDEP to be able to represent the needs of the countries in Southeast Asia. Based on this request, GWP SEA has done the initial revision of the Project Document, and organized a regional workshop to consult the revision of the regional WACDEP Project Document with all Country Water Partnerships in the region. The workshop was organized on 7 – 8 December, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Through this workshop, several issues were raised during the discussion. Issues ranges from the importance of linking the national policy and the activities that need to take place at the grassroot level, until the strategy on how to best influence the development or updating of National Adaptation Plan in each country. A very lively discussion was also taking place during the discussion on the revision of the framework of WACDEP Regional and the strategy in developing Country WACDEP Project Document which will be developed based on partnership. This Country Project Document will be the main material to help the CWP to mobilize resources in locally.