Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 207–219

Climate risks and adaptation strategies in the Lower Mekong River basin

  • Ram C. Bastakoti
  • Joyeeta Gupta
  • Mukand S. Babel
  • Meine P. van Dijk
Original Article


This paper examines perceived climate risks, their impacts, and existing adaptation practices at the local level, including the role of local institutions. The analysis focuses on two selected areas in Vietnam and Thailand. The paper is based on the information collected through key informant interviews at provincial and district level, focus group discussions at village level, and household survey. Several adaptation practices exist at local level to deal with the perceived risks of drought, floods, and salinity intrusion. Most of the adaptation practices were autonomous focusing on coping with short-term risks rather than structural long-term climate risks. Some adaptation practices, such as crop insurance and regulatory measures included in the literature and practiced in other places, did not exist at local level in the case study countries, but some local practices such as farmers’ annual fair could be an important addition to the inventory of potential adaptation measures. Local institutions have facilitated adaptation in different ways. They (1) lead and support unique adaptation practices suitable to the local context; (2) act as a catalyst to help people to adapt some practices by providing technical and material support; and (3) act as the bridge between local people and the governmental and non-governmental agencies. But several factors constrain the effectiveness of locally practiced adaptation measures. Thus, to enhance the adaptive capacity of households and the local community, it is necessary to: (1) improve the technical capacity of farmers; (2) create effective mechanisms for strengthening, promoting, and disseminating locally initiated efforts; (3) subsidize and improve access to credit services; (4) improve links between production and markets; and (5) establish effective mechanisms for coordination.


Climate risks Impacts Adaptation practices Local institutions Thailand Vietnam 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ram C. Bastakoti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joyeeta Gupta
    • 3
    • 4
  • Mukand S. Babel
    • 1
  • Meine P. van Dijk
    • 3
  1. 1. Asian Institute of TechnologyKlong LuangThailand
  2. 2.International Water Management InstituteJhamsikhelNepal
  3. 3.UNESCO-IHE, Institute for Water EducationDelftThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Vrije UniversiteitAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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