Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management (AJEDM)

Volume 4 Number 4 (2012)

doi: 10.3850/S1793924012100031

Governance Issues in Climate Change Adaptation in the Lower Mekong Basin: Perspectives from Practioners

Lucas Neo
Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, N2-01a-11, Singapore 639798.


The Lower Mekong Basin (LMB) is one of the most vulnerable places in the world to climate change. However, as a multi-stakeholder process involving governmental organizations, funding bodies, implementing agencies and research institutes, the governance of adaptation is also found wanting. Currently, adaptation tends to be reactive rather than anticipatory of future changes, running a risk of maladaptation. It is accorded relatively low priority in public discourse and tends to be a piecemeal process, instead of one driven by coordinated programs. Integration of stakeholders and the lower levels of governance can also be improved. This paper identifies uncertainty, complexity and relative novelty of adaptation in the public consciousness as intrinsic issues within adaptation as causes of these shortcomings. Additionally, inadequate vertical integration of different scales of governance, capacity limitations and the lack of transboundary frameworks make up the institutional issues that contribute to the problem. It suggests that LMB countries develop a collective vision for adaptation,mechanisms for the sharing of best practices and vertical integration, the use of transboundary economic zones, improving transboundary institutional arrangements and possibly funding capacity for regional collective action as ways forward in adaptation governance in the LMB.

Keywords: Governance, Climate change adaptation, Lower mekong basin.

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