NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NDF finances prize-winning urban planning toolkit for Mekong

Photo: Mai Ky Vinh, ICEM
ICEM leads the Battambang core group in community consultation efforts with residents in the informal settlement that has grown up in and around the wetlands that surround Battambang’s unused railway station.
Photo: Mai Ky Vinh, ICEM
Increased flooding in the wetland through which the box canal runs affects nearby residences, schools, and businesses.
Photo: Jeremy Carew-Reid, ICEM
The natural creek system that feeds into the culverts and Houy Longkong floodgates holds great potential to act as a key component in Kaysone’s climate change adaptation response. The core group’s proposals of manual floodgates, bioengineered slope stabilisation, and watershed rehabilitation could turn the system into a well-functioning natural drainage corridor.
A core group member leads participants through a mapping exercise that focuses on infrastructure vulnerability in Kaysone Phomvihane, Lao PDR. Photo: Mai Ky Vinh, ICEM
A core group member leads participants through a mapping exercise that focuses on infrastructure vulnerability in Kaysone Phomvihane, Lao PDR. Photo: Mai Ky Vinh, ICEM

One of the key results of the project is the toolkit for climate resilient urban planning.

Many cities all over the world are vulnerable to climate change and face multiple risks from severity of floods and storms related to, for instance, infrastructure and increasing populations. Even though the knowledge base about climate hazards is growing and relevant policy development is taking place, the progress in implementing these policies is limited largely due to institutional constraints including awareness, technical barriers and financial limitations.
The NDF -financed project Resilient Cities in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS): Adapting Cities to Climate Change (C42) was designed to address these constraints through policy dialogue and preparation of guidance materials with a focus on three cities in the Mekong region: Battambang (Cambodia), Dong Ha (Vietnam), and Kaysone Phomvihane (Lao PDR). The project, implemented in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank, was recently finalised with excellent results towards an improved understanding and application of climate-resilient measures for adaptation.
The project was successful in creating a platform for raising climate change awareness through practical applications for policy and adaptation measures among small and medium-sized cities. The learnings from the development of the activities have led to an improved understanding and application of climate-resilience measures for adaptation among the stakeholders in the three towns, gaining knowledge on alternative technological approaches to building climate-resilient infrastructure, and making their master plans responsive to possible future climate impacts based on the analysis of past extremes. This made the design and approach relevant to the situation in the towns, and is applicable to other small and medium cities in the region and elsewhere.
One of the key results of the project is the Resource Kit on Building Resilience and Sustainability in Mekong Towns. The kit was prepared, published and distributed in English and in the three national languages. The kit consists of seven volumes:

  • Volume 1: Nature Based Solutions for Resilient and Sustainable Mekong Towns sets out the principles for application of green infrastructure approaches and measures for building resilience and sustainability in Mekong towns;
  • Volume 2: Green Infrastructure for Resilient Mekong Towns introduces twenty nature-based solutions of special relevance to Mekong towns, grouped into four categories of water and flood management, slope stabilisation, and pollution management;
  • Volume 3: Urban Planning for Building Resilient Mekong Towns describes the urban planning and management framework needed to facilitate the uptake of green infrastructure, with attention to the role of town master planning and the use of zoning schemes;
  • Volume 4: Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning Guide for Building Resilient Mekong Towns explains the process for assessing climate change impacts and vulnerabilities, preparing and implementing adaptation plans, including matrices to record data, and prioritise adaptation measures; and
  • Volumes 5 to 7 refer to Case Studies in Building Urban Resilience in Battambang (Cambodia), Dong Ha (Vietnam) and Kaysone Phomvihane (Lao PDR).

The preparation of the Resource Kit was based on direct inputs and learning from field exercises on vulnerability assessments, applications of green infrastructure design solutions, and integrating these into planning processes. These resulted in detailed adaptation plans being prepared for identified strategic infrastructure. Overall, the project resulted in an increased awareness on climate change issues facing the towns and the necessary procedures for assessing vulnerability and developing adaptation plans and measures to build resilience. Furthermore, the project increased the understanding of the required action for modifications in town plans and infrastructure designs through practice. This will enable green infrastructure approaches to be integrated in planning, designing and implementing roads, bridges, river embankments, canals, markets and ports in a way which improves their durability and performance as well as the beauty, amenity and functionality.
The consultant of the project, International Centre for Environmental Management (ICEM), was awarded an Asia wide Urban Resilience prize for its work on “Green Infrastructure as a Foundation for Resilience in Mekong Towns” in a competition launched by the USAID’s regional Mission for Asia, UN Habitat and UNDP. The competition aimed at showcasing new and innovative work already being done in the field of urban resilience that offers transformative solutions, combines multi-disciplinary perspectives, and builds bottom-up, participatory partnerships.

The entire Resource Kit is available here

More information
NDF C42 Adapting Cities to Climate Change