Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia Partnership

Planning for climate change is a daunting challenge for governments in the Mekong Region of Southeast Asia. This project will help them manage climate change in the face of limited municipal capacity, high rates of urbanization, rapid social and economic change, and extreme climate events. Each of these problems contributes to vulnerable urban populations and economic sectors.

Climate change in Southeast Asia
Climate change is referred to as a "wicked problem" because the nature of the problem is not easily defined, and there are questions around whether policy solutions are fair and equitable. Research suggests that the best way to approach these problems is to create spaces that encourage informed open dialogue. For Southeast Asian countries, this is a new framework for approaching governance and decision-making, and one that requires sustained support.

Partnership for urban climate resilience
The objective of the Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia Partnership is to enhance the ability of cities to adapt at the economic and social levels. The project team will inform and facilitate public dialogues to strengthen urban resilience to climate change. The project will focus attention on eight medium-sized cities in the Lower Mekong region that have received little attention to date. With demographic growth, more and more urban residents are vulnerable to the physical consequences, and the social and economic costs, of climate change.

The Thailand Environment Institute is co-leading the project with the University of Toronto. Together with academic, local government, and civil society partners, the team will refine and apply tools to assess vulnerability and build climate-resilient local governance in Cambodia, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, and Vietnam. The team will train graduate students, develop their research skills, implement educational outreach, and develop policy recommendations for urban climate resilience.

The International Partnerships for Sustainable Societies program is funding this project. The Southeast Asian team is largely supported by IDRC, while the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada is providing support to the Canadian team.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


60 months

IDRC Officer

David O'Brien

Total funding

CA$ 1,259,100


Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, Canada


International Partnerships for Sustainable Societies

Project Leader

Pakamas Thinphanga


Thailand Environment Institute

Institution Country


Institution Website