Supporting the Mekong River Commission in climate change adaptation measures for the region

Project description

Title: Transboundary water management with the Mekong River Commission – Component: Supporting measures for adaptation to climate change in the Mekong region
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Viet Nam
Lead executing agency: Mekong River Commission (MRC)
Overall term: 2012 to 2014


The combination of high precipitation and runoff, large areas of land situated at around sea level (the delta region) and high population density mean that, even today, the Mekong basin is already dramatically affected by the impacts of climate change. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned of the further threats presented by climate change. Over the next 20 to 30 years, the melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas may lead to floods, landslides and a decline in water quality in the Mekong. However, droughts could also become a problem for the Mekong region over time, as recently demonstrated by the devastating drought in 2010.

Strengthening the technical expertise and institutional capacities at regional and national levels is essential to enable the countries in the Mekong region to respond adequately to the effects of climate change. As the river basin commission for the Lower Mekong, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) plays a key role in the adaptation to climate change.


The MRC has acquired well-founded knowledge that will enable it and its member states, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam, to develop effective climate change adaptation measures.


GIZ is advising the specialist and management staff of the MRC, and of the relevant authorities in the member state on ways of adapting to climate change. The programme is initially supporting MRC in carrying out the work of providing data, information and climate change reports, including localised climate projections for member states. A regional expert committee, the Mekong Panel on Climate Change, will be founded to provide advice to member states, and possible approaches to adaptation will be developed. The programme will also introduce a suitable monitoring system to document the progress made in adaptation measures.

Results achieved so far

Up to now, the programme has worked on developing a knowledge base for the climate institutions in the region. By building a database of information on the institutions and their adaptation projects in the Mekong region, the MRC is enhancing knowledge exchange and networking among various actors. Bringing these institutions together creates transparency with regard to the available resources and knowledge on climate change in the Mekong region.

A range of indicators have been developed to measure the status of climate change adaptation in the region and to help project future patterns of climate change. These results are currently being integrated into a regional climate change strategy.
Living on the river near Phnom Penh, Cambodia. © GIZ