© WWF / Simon Rawles
Resilient Asian Deltas


Importance of Deltas

Home to over 400 million people and a wealth of biodiversity, Asia’s great deltas are critical to the economies, food security and sustainable development of the entire continent. But these deltas are sinking and shrinking at an alarming rate due to human activities.




Dams trap vast amounts of sediment, while unsustainable amounts of sand and gravel are extracted from riverbeds to meet soaring demand for construction. Together, they are starving these great deltas of sediment. This is putting the livelihoods of millions of people billions of dollars in investments and trillions of dollars of economic assets at risk as well as priceless ecosystems. 

Restoring the resilience in Asian’s great deltas is an effective climate adaptation strategy
© WWF / Simon Rawles
The Resilient Asian Deltas Initiative
The vision of the Resilient Asian Deltas (RAD) Initiative is that long term resilience of Asia’s delta systems is secured through unprecedented political and financial investment in ‘building with nature’, which will protect and restore the natural river and coastal processes that replenish deltas and will keep them – and the societies, economies and nature that depend on them – above the rising seas.

© Global Warming Images / WWF

Political Action

Secure leadership and political commitments

National level

  • Raise the issue of resilient management up the political agenda.
  • Mainstream holistic delta visions in each country.
  • Increase community participation in decision making.
Regional level
  • Build political partnerships. 
  • Strengthen regional and transboundary collaboration.

© David Woodfall / WWF-UK

Building with Nature

Building with nature solutions​

  • Identify & Implement solutions to address the root causes of loss of resilience of deltas.
  • Enable decision makers to identify BWN solutions with a Decision Support Framework (DSF).
  • Mainstreaming the DSF and BWN Principles into country planning.
  • Private sector partners championing BWN

© WWF / Greg Funnell

Financial Flows

Mobilize financing to turn visions into actions

  • Develop a resource mobilization plan for each delta.
  • Establish a delta project incubation facility for those needing a financial case.
  • Secure financing for a pipeline of projects.
  • Push for commitments on financing building with nature investments

Our progress
  • We published a report in 2021, Assessment report: Implementing an Integrated Landscape System Approach for Nature-based Solutions in Asian Deltas, which highlights opportunities, challenges and enabling conditions for building with nature and includes three in-depth case studies.
  • We have started preparatory work on establishing a Resilient Asian Deltas Community of Practice, in partnership with the Global Center on Adaptation.
  • We have looked at options for Nature-based Solutions in the Mekong delta, presented them at various events and meetings in mid-2021, including at CoP26 (see the presentation here, at the 40 minute mark). We hope to replicate this process in other deltas.
  • The RAD Initiative was officially launched in July 2019 on the margin of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
  • Organized the first regional Multi-Stakeholder conference to create awareness and jointly propose solutions for tackling delta threats (16-18 October 2019, Bangkok, Thailand)
  • An event was held at Thailand’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club named “The Delta Dilemma: How Do We Stop Asia’s Great River Deltas From Sinking and Shrinking? (17 October 2019, Bangkok, Thailand)
  • RAD is recognized as a partner under Water Action Track of the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA)
  • Key support of the Delta Coalition – the world’s first international coalition of governments that have formed a partnership to deal with this problem and to get things done to make Delta’s more resilient
  • RAD is also formulating strategic partnerships with a range of international, regional and national organizations, including the World Economic Forum, Delta Alliance, the Government of the Netherlands

If you have any questions or would like more information on RAD – please reach out to Christopher Howe (RAD Initiative Lead) at christopher.howe@wwfgreatermekong.org