[Thailand] Thai Coast: Coastal Vulnerability, Resilience and Adaptation in Thailand.

Lead Research Organisation: Edge Hill University
Department Name: Geography

Abstract

The goal of the Thai-coast project is to improve scientific understanding of the vulnerability of Thailand's shoreline and coastal communities to hydro-meteorological hazards, including storms, floods and coastal erosion, under future climate change scenarios. In Thailand the problems of coastal erosion and flooding require immediate solutions because they affect more than 11 million people living in coastal zone communities (17% of the country's population). The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), in the Thai Government's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, has calculated that each year erosion causes Thailand to lose 30 km2 of coastal land. The Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning predicts that sea level will rise by 1 metre in the next 40 -100 years, impacting at least 3,200 km2 of coastal land, through erosion and flooding, at a potential financial cost to Thailand of 3 billion baht [almost £70 million] over that time period. The Thai-coast project addresses the urgent need to enhance the resilience and adaptation potential of coastal communities, applying scientific research to inform more robust and cost-effective governance and institutional arrangements.

The Thai-coast project aims to (i) establish causal links between climate change, coastal erosion and flooding; (ii) use this information to assess the interaction of natural and social processes in order to (iii) enhance coastal community resilience and future sustainability. The project focuses on two study areas, Nakhon Si Thammarat province and Krabi province, selected on the basis of DMCR coastal erosion data and with contrasting natural and socio-economic characteristics. The Thai-coast project uses a multidisciplinary approach, integrating climate science, geomorphology, socio-economics, health and wellbeing science and geo-information technology to improve understanding of hydro-meteorological hazard occurrence, their physical and socioeconomi, health and wellbeing impacts on Thailand's coastal zone and the ways in which governance and institutional arrangements mitigate their impact. We will examine future scenarios of climate change hydrometeorology, coastal landform and land use change scenarios and assess and model impacts (coastal erosion, river-marine flooding, impacts on health and well-being), as well as population and community's adaptation, and socio-economics scenarios for sustainable development goals (sustainable cities, health-related quality of life and well-being, good governance). Our collaborative team of natural and social scientists, from UK, US and Thai research institutions, have complementary, cutting-edge expertise and will work closely with Thai Government and UK and Thai industry partners to ensure that results are policy and practice-relevant.

Thai-coast research will benefit government and policy makers, who need to plan for potential impacts caused by climate change and develop resilient strategies to deal with their impacts on natural-social systems. It will provide a link with government agencies for business/industry interests in the coastal zone of Thailand in tourism, aquaculture and associated industry and business, to assess their needs and help improve their understanding of coastal resilience in their strategic investments and management. The wider public, who inhabit Thailand's coastal communities either permanently or temporarily for work or leisure, will benefit through the advanced knowledge and awareness of identified problems and learning processes to address them. The results of the Thai-coast project will benefit coastal communities more broadly, in all Thai coastal provinces, through its contribution to more robust, cost effective, governance and institutional arrangements.

Planned Impact

The goal of the Thai-coast project is to improve scientific understanding of the vulnerability of Thailand's shoreline to hydrometeorological hazards under future climate change in order to enhance the resilience and adaptation of coastal communities through more robust, cost effective, decision-making, governance and institutional arrangements. Driven by the needs of key beneficiaries through strong, established and ongoing, two-way relationships, Thai-coast is a bespoke research project designed to improve the quality of life of coastal communities in Thailand. The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, has already identified coastal erosion and flooding hotspots where coastal community livelihoods and wellbeing are under threat. There is a clear need to understand the response of shorelines to hydrometeorological events of different magnitudes and to predict the future likely occurrence of events of different magnitudes associated with climate change scenarios and their impacts on coastal communities. These natural events have important socio-economic consequences and the DMCR have identified the need to engage with a broad range of coastal community stakeholders and decision-makers and multi-disciplinary research in order to improve governance and institutional arrangements in mitigating the impact of hydrometeorological hazards. Tourism and aquaculture, and associated industries such as port authorities, are the dominant economic activities in Thailand's coastal zone and so the results of the Thai-coast project will benefit coastal communities more broadly, in other Thai coastal provinces, through its contribution to more robust, cost effective, decision-making governance and institutional arrangements.

Thai-coast addresses the needs of three principal categories of beneficiaries with whom we have existing contacts on which to build. (i) Government and policy makers. Specifically the DMCR, but also including NPD (Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation), NSO (National Statistics Office), NESDB (National Economic and Social Development Board), GISTDA (Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency), MOPH (Ministry of Public Health). And at various levels including local development actors and communities, such as DOPA (Department Of Provincial Administration), Local Administration agencies and Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, who need to plan for potential impacts caused by climate change and develop resilient strategies to deal with their impacts on natural-social systems. Existing strategies will be assessed, the research tailored to gaps identified and the results used to enhance knowledge and skills to develop the strategies and build capacity. Government policy makers will benefit in the short, medium and long term (ii) Business/industry interests in the coastal zone of Thailand in tourism, aquaculture and associated industry and business e.g. multinational companies, SMEs, tourism, transport, agricultural, health care sectors. This broad group represent a potential development conflict in relation to coastal protection yet are important to the economy. Thai-coast reaches out equally to these stakeholders to enhance their links with government agencies, assess their needs and help improve their understanding of resilience in their strategic investments and management benefiting them in the longer term. (iii) The wider public who inhabit Thailand's coastal communities either permanently or temporarily for work or leisure and including the international communities who visit Thailand will benefit in the medium to longer term through advanced knowledge and awareness of identified problems and learning processes to address them.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Global Challenges Research Fund: Climate Change, Coastal Erosion and Risks of Flooding to Low-Lying Coastlines Subject to Tropical Storms, Thailand
Amount £24,883 (GBP)
Funding ID PI Prof Irene Delgado-Fernandez (CO-Is: Dr Anna Jones; Prof Cherith Moses) 
Organisation Edge Hill University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 10/2019
 
Description Press release to disseminate information on the project 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Press release by all project partners in January 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/news/2019/01/major-study-could-benefit-11-million-thai-people-living-in-v...
 
Description Project launch workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Project launch for dissemination purposes and for input from stakeholders and end-users to ensure that the project work addresses their needs
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Stakeholder-End User Workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact two facilitated workshops with officials, stakeholders, NGOS and community leaders at the two project study sites. Held at the Provincial Government Offices: Nakhon si Thammarat (Friday 8 March 2019) and Krabi (11 March 2019). Initial workshop to assess views on existing risks from and governance of hydro-meteorological hazards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019