Recent Posts
  • Dr. Richard Friend


In August 2012, the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN), a regional program funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, brought representatives of cities from Vietnam to Thailand, to learn from the experience of the floods of 2011 that inundated several provinces in the Chao Praya Basin with devastating consequences.

The ACCCRN: Learning from Thailand’s Floods video captures this exchange. The countries have much in common. Vietnam has its own experience of heavy flooding, and like Thailand, is rapidly forging a path of urbanisation and industrialisation. The exchange allowed the cities to consider some of the root causes of the surrounding risks of flooding together, while also considering options for building resilience to future climate change. In particular the meeting raised the challenge of how to deal with a natural cycle of flooding, and the role that large scale infrastructure might play.

In Thailand, much of the response to the flooding crisis of 2011 has been to build protection walls. As participants pointed out, as these walls get ever higher and ever longer they create their own new risks of failing and intensifying the flooding, and of deflecting the problem onto people in other places while not adequately addressing the underlying causes of the problem. Participants were reminded of the need to understand the natural cycle of water, the influence of land use change and critically to reconsider the kind of future world we want to create.