Assessing climate change vulnerability in the Greater Mekong Region
The experts, covering a broad range of specialties, from development and socio-economics to ecology and adaptation, focused on assessing the relationships among biodiversity, ecosystem services and society in the context of future scenarios influenced by climate change, development and other change factors.
Initiated by the WWF Greater Mekong Programme, this workshop was meant to provide a forum where specialists can discuss and exchange information as well as share their knowledge and experience.
WWF Greater Mekong’s Climate Change Coordinator, Geoffrey Blate said that each of the six working groups aimed at identifying adaptation options that enhance the climate change resilience and maintain the key ecosystem services of the priority areas.
Climate change will profoundly affect the Greater Mekong Region’s (GMR) biodiversity, water resources, and economy, all of which in turn will impact its people. Recent studies conducted by researchers in the region, have shown that the GMR climate is already changing. Models suggest continued warming, increased variability and more frequent and damaging extreme climate events. In combination with changes in precipitation patterns, warmer temperatures will likely reduce the productivity of agriculture and fisheries.
Also, rising seas and saltwater intrusion will cause major coastal impacts especially in the Mekong Delta, which is one of the three most vulnerable deltas on Earth, according to the most recent International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
These expected impacts as well as the large human population living in floodplains and low-lying coastal zones and which depends on ecosystem services, combined with rapid developmentand extraordinary biodiversity, contributes to the region’s vulnerability, Geoffrey Blate considers.