27 to 28 March: New collaborative programme launched for climate change adaptation in the Mekong-Salween river basin


A four-year (2012–2015) programme on climate change adaptation in the Mekon-Salween river basin of Yunnan Province, China was kicked off at a workshop in Kunming, China on 27-28 March 2012. The programme will aim to fill knowledge gaps and, on the basis of the scientific evidence gathered, to make concrete proposals for enhancing people’s adaptation to climate change through policy and practice. The programme will have a particular focus on women’s adaptation, as women and men often suffer the impacts of climate change in different ways, and women tend to be less represented in policy and decision making. It will link climate scenarios with issues of water availability and demand, ecosystem services, food security, and people’s vulnerability and adaptation, with particular attention to the role of women and gender in all these areas. Water availability is a crucial underlying issue, as drought has become increasingly frequent in the Salween-Mekong basin.

This programme will bring scientists from a broad range of disciplines to encourage cross-cutting policy actions to address climate change impacts and responses. Physical and social scientists present at the workshop covered areas as diverse as hydrology, disaster risk reduction, ecology, biodiversity, botany, ethnobotany, fisheries, gender, sociology, migration, economics, valuation of ecosystem services, community forestry, and agroforestry. The programme brings together experts from notable institutions in Yunnan Province and across China, as well as ICIMOD subject specialists and invited experts from elsewhere in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region and beyond.

ICIMOD organized the workshop jointly with the Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the key partner in the programme. The programme is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). “The overall objective of the adaptation programme is to work together to come up with new data, research findings, and strategies to strengthen planned as well as autonomous adaptation to climate change, both at community and policy levels”, said Dr Eklabya Sharma, Director of Programme Operations, ICIMOD. The workshop drafted a four-year roadmap to provide a basis for the implementation of the programme.