Climate change has been happening in and impacting all sectors at every corner of the world. Likewise, it now is mostly accepted phenomenon and becomes a major concern by people globally. Climate change and its impacts is complex and have sophisticated linkage with various issues. Furthermore, climate change differs in its specific impacts in each area depending on the characteristics and adaptive capacity of such area. To enhance understanding on climate change in both views of mitigation and adaptation, climate studies in each country which consider various issues in all levels and provide accurate results are needed, especially in developing countries. Likewise, sharing knowledge about and exchanging experiences on climate change-relevant issues in a shared platform—with relevant people in different places gathered together—can strengthen the capability of policy-makers, researchers and others to address climate change and its impacts in their countries, especially in developing countries.
The Eighth International Conference on Climate Change: Impacts & Responses, Climate Change: A Knowledge and Resilience Community-Proactive Responses and Risk Management, an international event with median size for sharing climate change-relevant knowledge and experiences from researchers worldwide, was held in Hanoi, Vietnam during April 21-22, 2016. It was aimed at creating an interdisciplinary forum for discussion on climate change, its causes, its eco-systemic impacts, and its human impacts; and exploring technological, policy, strategic, and social responses to climate change. With about 100 researchers, scholars and policy-makers from the ASEAN countries and from other regions, including Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Mexico, Nigeria, etc., the Conference served as platform for inter-acting on the key issues on climate change and building up the relationship as a community collaboratively addressing the impacts of climate change.
The Conference provided several ways of inter-action, including the plenary, talking circles, themed paper presentations, poster presentations, etc. to enable the attendees to make interactions among each other. The Conference themes were divided into four issues, namely: 1) Scientific Evidence; 2) Assessing Impacts in Divergent Ecosystems; 3) Human Impacts and Impacts on Humans; and 4) Technical, Political and Social Responses.
As a fellow of the ASEAN-US Science and Technology Fellowship Program 2015/16, I attended this Conference through financial support from the Ad hoc Funding provided by ASEAN-U.S. PROGRESS. As participant of the Conference, my presentation (“Rural Coastal People in Chanthaburi Province, Thailand at Risk of Severe Seawater Inundation”) focused on some parts of my work under the Fellowship Program. Through the presentation—poster presentation—, I mainly explained to the audiences how my research applies scientific tools for making policy recommendations. I also took this opportunity to inform the participants, especially from the ASEAN countries about the Fellowship Program.
Through this Conference, I also got the chance to discuss and share climate change–relevant information and ideas for addressing climate change impacts, with participants who work in different fields and institutes. All activities provided by this Conference enhanced my knowledge on and provided me the insights of resent climate change-relevant issues, particularly in the nexus of the impacts of climate change and coastal management. The participants agreed that climate change is real, severely affecting every system and threatening sustainable development. Solving such problem is necessary now as well as the responses based on the collaboration of everyone. Support from developed or industrial countries via bilateral or multilateral collaborations can strengthen the capability of developing countries to sustain their countries in the midst of severe impacts of climate change.
The information, knowledge and experience on climate change-relevant issues that I have gained from the results of this outstanding Conference through the recommendations on climate change adaptation, are relevant for government agencies in Thailand to adapt. These include:
1) Climate change adaptation policies, especially in the context of people’s livelihood and impacts of climate change which must be provided in all levels, at the regional, national and provincial levels and linked among these levels; and
2) Thailand should study now on how to integrate climate change adaptation responses into provincial development plans, especially in the coastal areas which are highly vulnerable to potential impacts of climate change, such as coastal erosion and seawater inundation. The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) through the Regional Economic and Social Development Office which has a strong capability for spatial development and direct responsibility to support provincial government officials providing provincial development plans, should provide assistance to provincial government officials, especially in coastal provinces in crafting the plans integrating climate change adaptation issues.
In short, the Conference provided various current issues on climate change which I have learned and should consider. It strengthened my insights on the nexus of climate change impacts in several systems, particularly in coastal areas from all corners of the world as well as in the ASEAN region. Addressing climate change-relevant issues, especially the adaptation aspects need suitable policies in all levels and collaboration of all people.
About the writer:
THAILAND, Jirawat PANPENG, Fisheries & Coastal Management
Born in a rural village in the coastal areas of Krabi province, Mr. Jirawat Panpeng is a doctoral student focusing on Climate Change and Sustainable Development in the School of Environment and Resources at the Asian Institute of Technology. His dissertation focuses on coastal communities’ vulnerability to climate change. Mr. Panpeng also works with the National Economic and Social Development Board of Thailand on regional and spatial development planning and conducting on sustainable development in coastal zones.
Through the Fellowship, Mr. Panpeng is promoting the sustainability of coastal areas and community livelihoods through adaptation measures in Thailand.