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Thailand secures $17.5 million from Green Climate Fund towards water and agricultural resilience


Drawing on technology, nature-based approaches, and markets, UNDP-supported adaptation project to bolster livelihoods and the Thai economy, contributing towards COVID-19 recovery

Songdo, 8 October 2021 – Ahead of the international climate conference COP26 next month, the global Green Climate Fund has today approved a new US$17.5 million grant towards building the climate change resilience of farmers in Thailand. Approximately 62,000 people living in three of the country’s vulnerable northern provinces are set to directly benefit.

“We appreciate the support of the Green Climate Fund in bringing this innovative new project to life,” said Director-General of Royal Irrigation Department, Mr. Praphit Chanma. “Led by the Royal Irrigation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), it will bring technology, ecosystem-based approaches, and markets to bear on helping farmers and the economy to abstain from climate catastrophe. With increasingly volatile climate conditions ahead, this project is highly appropriate. As a result, about 62,000 people in the Yom and Nan river basins will benefit directly, while more than 25 million Thais across the Greater Chao Phraya River Basin will ultimately stand to benefit.”

 

While Thailand has made remarkable progress in social and economic development over the last four decades, rising temperatures and more frequent and extreme droughts and floods driven by climate change pose an increasing threat to the country’s economy. In this context, COVID-19 has presented another set of immediate challenges, with Thailand experiencing one of the steepest contractions among ASEAN member states, including a contraction in agricultural employment of 10.9 percent.

 

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Water management and sustainable agriculture has emerged as a leading concern. The new project will help build the resilience of farmers in in the Yom and Nan river basins in Sukhothai, Phitsanulok and Uttaradit provinces through improved climate information and forecasts, the introduction of more climate-resilient agricultural practices, and expanded access to markets and finance.

At the same time, it will work with subnational and national agencies to improve risk-informed planning and decision-making, promote cross-sectoral coordination, and upgrade critical infrastructure such as irrigation canals and floodgates.

With the Green Climate Fund grant met with $16.2 million co-finance from the Royal Thai Government, a private sector partner Krungsri Bank will also contribute more than $113,000 towards financial literacy training for farmers. The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives has also pledged a line of credit of $16 million to help farmers invest in adaptation measures.

Other key implementation partners include the German development agency GIZ and King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok, with respective expertise in ecosystems-based water management and agricultural modeling as well as dissemination and expanding access to climate information to the public, in particular to agricultural households.

“UNDP has been working closely with the Thai Government on climate change preparedness for a number of years, including building capacity to secure global finance for climate action, and efforts to integrate agriculture into national adaptation planning,” said Renaud Meyer, Resident Representative of UNDP in Thailand.

“We are pleased to support this transformational new project which will contribute across the Sustainable Development Goals – including reducing poverty and hunger, accelerate climate action, advancing decent work and economic growth – while also helping the government realise its Nationally Determined Contribution under the global Paris Agreement. The current heavy flooding, impacting more than 30 provinces across Thailand and 200,000 households and their livelihoods, underlines the urgency of climate action and identifying long-term solutions to increase the resilience of communities and farmers.”

 

Implementation is expected to begin in March 2022. For more information, please visit the project page here.

Published : October 10, 2021

By : THE NATION