Hat Yai and Chiang Rai are the Thai pilot cities that have collaborated with the Thailand Environment Institute (TEI) on the ACCCRN project to build the climate resilience in their cities.
Over the past years, they have emerged as examples of the project’s successful outcomes. Based on the lessons learned from their activities, the cities’ working groups have found that the key factor in the success has been the building of collaboration and partnership between all the stakeholders in the cities. The establishment of the working groups, with their multi-stakeholder membership and shared learning dialogue activities, has allowed the groups to share their experiences, learn from each other, build up the sense of ownership, and lead them to create activities together.
The ‘Hat Yai Model’ in facing floods
Hat Yai is a city located in the southern region of Thailand, which makes its work building collaboration between multi-stakeholders very distinguished. The ACCCRN project has established a working group that includes representatives from diverse sectors in the city, such as public organizations, the private sector, local administrative organizations, academics, NGOs and civil society.
Developing resilience activities in Hat Yai city, such as the flood monitoring and early warning system, using a community-based approach, has enabled the people of Hat Yai to monitor the water level by themselves and share this information with the municipality. Since joining the ACCCRN program and becoming part of the network that facilitates the collaboration between the public and government in exchanging information, the integrated monitoring and early warning system along the U-tapao river (upstream – midstream – downstream) has made the city well known as a role model and is cited as the ‘Hat Yai Model’ for cities in southern Thailand which face the same threat from flooding.
Currently, several activities have been incorporated into the city action plan. The flood monitoring and early warning system have been deployed as part of the provincial flood management plan.
Increasing the green area in Chiang Rai
The partnership between the various sectors in Chiang Rai is an important element in strengthening the city’s resilience-building. Promoting the urban agriculture project and the Mea Kok Noi River ecology restoration has increased the green area in the city. It is also promoting organic farming and supporting its safe food supply. Allowing city people who are poor—and who have no arable land—to use the public areas for farming, provides this vulnerable group of residents with more income and better living.
The Chiang Rai municipality and its neighboring city are establishing more public land as agricultural areas for their poor citizens. Currently, this pilot area is a food source for the city and has also become a learning center and tourist attraction.
The lessons learned from these two stories showed that the partnership between the various sectors in the city is the key to success. This is because cooperation contributes to the exchange of information between participants, builds understanding between them, increases their ownership, and also speeds up the coordination and implementation process.
However, there are still challenges that the cities have to face, such as maintaining the networks and partnerships, and advocating for the urban climate resilience concept, and the examples of implementation they provide, to become the national policy.