Climate Change and Adaptation Initiative

Climate change is no longer just a threat in the Lower Mekong Basin. Its impact is present and is affecting the livelihoods of millions that rely on the river’s natural resources.

Changes in temperature, rainfall, river flow and flooding as a result of climate change affect agriculture and fisheries and, as a result, reduce food security, especially for the poor. Additionally, a predicted rise in sea level will increase salinity and floods in the Mekong Delta, causing damage to crops in the most productive area of the basin.

The Mekong River Commission works to determine, with greater certainty, the impacts of climate change, and how the organisation can help Mekong countries better adapt to these changes. Through the Climate Change and Adaptation Initiative (CCAI) in the strategic cycle 2011-2015, the MRC Member Countries collaborated to demonstrate and share adaptation strategies. With its emphasis on a basin-wide approach, the Initiative ensured that climate change adaptation is harmonised with effective strategies, plans at various levels and is applied at priority locations throughout the basin.

Climate change adaptation planning

Sharing how people adapt to climate change through local strategies is a unique and effective initiative by the MRC and its partners. The MRC is developing an adaptation planning process through pilot projects at demonstration sites in all four Member Countries. The planning will draw on local knowledge and local adaptation strategies to identify practices that can be scaled up to the region as a whole.

Adaptation planning is based on demonstration, knowledge-sharing, and learning to continuously improve methods and results. Implementation of the adaptation planning process will be promoted at the local level, for relevant sectors, and at the basin-wide and transboundary levels.

Developing an everyday understanding on climate change

In light of the wide potential impacts of climate change in the Lower Mekong Basin, there is a need for awareness-raising activities to build national level capacities on the topic.The MRC is working with institutions, specialists, programmes and communities in the basin to develop adaptation plans and implementation strategies specific to each Member Country. The organisation has provided on-the-job advice and mentoring and learning-exchange visits for government staff with other countries and other sites. In addition, it has developed training and advisory manuals so that proven methods and approaches can be applied more widely.

To communicate key messages related to climate change, the MRC produces reader-friendly posters, cartoons, and grassroots comics in riparian languages, and applies them as campaign tools to raise awareness on climate change in the basin.

Fostering dialogue with stakeholders

Working closely with stakeholders throughout the region has enabled the MRC to develop partnerships. For example, in July 2008, the MRC launched a process of dialogue and consultation on climate change with government agencies, academic institutions, non-governmental organisations and Development Partners. The Mekong Environment and Climate Symposium was one of several events organised to foster dialogue and consultation among stakeholders.

Climate change posters

EnglishKhmer | Laotian

Thai | Vientamese

English | KhmerLaotian


EnglishKhmer | Laotian

Thai | Vientamese




Living on the edge of the rising sea

Banking on the seasons

Programme Document

For detailed information on the structure and components of the CCAI, review the Programme Document and CCAI Leaflet

Related Topics

For more information on climate change see the Climate Change Topic page.

Development Partners

Australia, Denmark, European Union, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, and Sweden supported the Climate Change and Adaptation Initiative.

Glossary of Climate Change Terms

The complexities of climate change and related terminology can create confusion. To aid better understanding, CCAI created a glossary of climate change terms for use by the media, academia, government authorities, NGOs and the general public.

Glossary of Terms and Definitions on Climate Change and Adaptation


Reports and Studies

International experiences on the formulation and implementation of transboundary climate change adaptation strategies

Fact sheets of the international experiences on the formulation and implementation of transboundary climate change adaptation strategies

Climate change analysis in the LMB: Review of availability of observed meteorological data

1st Rhine-Mekong Symposium: Climate change and its influence on water and related resources

Results and lessons learnt from the first batch of local demonstration projects 2010-2013

Local demonstration projects in climate change adaptation: Final report of the first batch project in Cambodia, Lao PDRThailand, Viet Nam