Policy integration is key to confront climate change in Thailand

Climate change poses a threat to Thailand. The country has an ambitious plan to confront the changes with climate policy playing a key role.​

A quick scan of the news headlines says it all: torrential rain is incapacitating many parts of Thailand for days on end while some parts of the country are experiencing extreme heat. A similar message was echoed in the Training on Strengthening the Capacity to Integrate Climate Change Policy into Planning Process at the Subnational Level held between 8-10 August 2018 at a Bangkok hotel, where a group of regional environmental officials talked about the problems they were facing in their regions. Many areas are already experiencing the impacts of climate change in one way or another.
 
The Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP), under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, is on the alert. Through a strategic policy framework, ONEP aims to put climate change policy into implementation among government agencies and across Thailand.

Confronting the changes with an ambitious plan
In July 2015, the Climate Change Master Plan (CCMP), formulated by ONEP, was approved by the cabinet as the national climate policy framework for addressing climate change. The CCMP specifies a set of mitigation, adaptation and capacity building targets for the 2015-2050 period.
 
As Thailand’s focal point for climate change coordination, ONEP is tasked with leading the integration of CCMP to all subnational provincial planning. The work is of huge proportions, considering the bureaucratic system of Thai agencies. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), GIZ is supporting ONEP in boosting each locality’s ability to combat the changes.
 
The Climate Policy Project (2018-2021), under the “Thai-German Climate Programme (TGCP), assists ONEP in building the capacity of national and regional officials as well as provincial planning officials from 60 provinces in mainstreaming climate change policy into their provincial development planning. It is a scale-up from the previous project, which worked with 17 provinces and 32 municipalities. By the year 2021, all the 77 provinces in Thailand will have provincial development planning that takes into consideration climate change impacts and integrates climate policy into their planning.

To push this forward, the Regional Environmental Office (REO) is a crucial piece of the jigsaw in achieving this goal. The REO is responsible for breaking down the national climate policy framework into the regional context, guiding provincial planning officials on climate policy integration and ensuring the local context and climate change aspects are considered.
Photo 2: Interactive exercises make a good learning. Here regional environmental officials talked about real challenges facing their regions. Photo: GIZ/Anusara Tanpitak
Photo 2: Interactive exercises make a good learning. Here regional environmental officials talked about real challenges facing their regions. Photo: GIZ/Anusara Tanpitak

More practical training, and direct discussion
The more practical it is, the more useful it will be for the participants. Throughout the 3-day training, participants were encouraged to pick real challenges they were facing in their regions. Working in small groups of five or six, direct discussions were encouraged through experience sharing and mentoring by the experts.

To ensure that the problem is looked at from different angles, each session was joined by several related agencies. Besides a platform for learning, the training is a good opportunity for these related officials to meet and foster cooperation. For this first time in a training series, the participants included representatives from regional environmental offices, the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion and the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (Public Organisation), under Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE).

In the next 3.5 years of project implementation, training courses are also scheduled for central government officials under MNRE and Ministry of Interior, as well as provincial officials responsible for provincial development planning to implement this national climate policy framework. The modules cover introduction to CCMP, situation analysis, prioritisation, stakeholder analysis, data analysis, climate policy integration approach, context-sensitive regional and provincial planning, project development, potential budget sources, and effective monitoring and evaluation.

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