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Mekong-Building Resilience to Climate Change in Asian Cities (M-BRACE)

Mekong-Building Resilience to Climate Change in Asian Cities (M-BRACE)

Program Locations: Udon Thani, Thailand; Phuket, Thailand; Hue City, Vietnam; Lao Cai City, Vietnam
Project Duration: November 2010–November 2014
Project Lead: Ken MacClune, Chief of Party; Richard Friend, Deputy Chief of Party 
Project Contact: Pimolwan Singhawong, Program Administrator

Project Overview

M-BRACE is a collaborative program managed by ISET-International in partnership with the Thailand Environment Institute (TEI) and NISTPASS, and targeting a diverse range of city-level stakeholders from local government, civil society, and academia.

Medium-size cities in Thailand and Vietnam are growing rapidly, fuelled by economic growth and greater regional economic integration. This growth tends to be poorly planned, with little public participation and dialog. Where urban growth is planned, it tends to be based on assumptions about past climate hazards that are projected to intensify and alter in the coming decades. Medium-sized cities are also growing beyond their immediate ecological carrying capacity—beyond their access to viable water and energy systems. Such cities are expanding geographically into hazardous spaces, changing land use in ways that can exacerbate vulnerability to climate hazards (particularly flooding), and redistribute impacts of hazards. While there are growing calls for building urban resilience, there is still very limited experience of how this can be actualized.

The approach that M-BRACE has adopted is to build an informed public process to support city stakeholders to come together for informed dialogue, to assess vulnerabilities related to the inter-linkages between urbanization and climate change, and to identify, test, and implement initial measures towards building resilience. M-BRACE has been building networks of academics and researchers in Thailand and Vietnam as well as building bridges across the two countries.

The goal of M-BRACE is that medium sized cities in South East Asia are resilient to climate change.

The objective of the M-BRACE program is to develop and apply practical methods for building resilience to the impacts of climate change among stakeholders in medium-sized cities in Thailand and Vietnam.

The planned results of the program are:

  1. Establishing learning dialog processes among city stakeholders.

  2. Practical resilience measures are tested and implemented.

  3. Stakeholder knowledge and awareness of urban climate change vulnerabilities and resilience is strengthened.

  4. Methods, tools, and training guidelines are tested and refined.

  5. Lessons and replicable processes are documented and disseminated.

  6. ISET-International provides effective management throughout the program.

M-BRACE is founded on applying principles of resilience but doing so in ways that promote equitable social development and ensure effective participation of vulnerable and marginalized groups, paying particular attention to issues of ethnicity and gender.

At the heart of resilience thinking is the need for learning in order to address the inherent uncertainty and risk surrounding climate change. This approach to learning allows for critical reflection and documentation of unanticipated changes, so that lessons can be incorporated into future actions. This approach to learning also frames the program’s monitoring and evaluation strategy that identifies key performance indicators that allow program partners to track performance against intended results. This contributes both to the efficient and effective implementation of the program, and to broader reporting across USAID programs.

M-BRACE is co-financed by the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) funded by The Rockefeller Foundation.

Core Program Activities

Design and facilitation of programing: Design the process of engagement, learning, and planning for urban climate resilience; provide the conceptual framework, methods, and tools for urban climate resilience planning, working directly with national partners to facilitate “shared learning processes” at the city level, conduct vulnerability assessments, resilience interventions, and City Resilience Strategies; and developed a suite of Climate Resilience Planning Training Modules, with co-funding from ACCCRN.

Facilitation of shared learning process: Support country coordinators to facilitate multi-stakeholder, shared learning dialogues with local government to provide new information, deliberate on findings of assessments, and provide recommendations for driving processes forward to improve urban climate governance through further study, access to information, capacity development, and improved urban planning processes.

Coaching for national partners and city working groups: Provide regular, in-person coaching for local teams of city partners (including government, NGO, academics, and representatives from private sectors) to assess vulnerabilities and risks based on physical systems, institutions, and actors in cities. 

Technical support for intervention: Provide targeted technical assistance to support intervention strategies from city working groups with local government, such as flood monitoring, integration of vulnerability assessment results into spatial planning, and training and capacity development for government staff. 

Development and dissemination of knowledge products: Develop joint research and knowledge products, including publications in peer-reviewed journal, accessible publications, op-eds, blog posts, and videos.

Project Publications

Professional Staff Involved: 


Thua Thien-Hue Department of Natural Resources and Environment

Lao Cai Department of Natural Resources and Environment


Thailand Environment Institute (TEI)


National Institute for Science and Technology


Policy and Strategic Studies (NISTPASS)


US Army Corps of Engineers 






Hue University (Hue Tourism Department)

Funded by:

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