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  • Sarah O. Reed


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As we wrapped up our first ACCCRN Vietnam-Thailand City Learning Exchange in Bangkok, Dr. Paul from Thailand Environmental Institute (TEI) underlined the events’ significance: our trip with 5 Vietnamese representatives of Can Tho and Da Nang Cities to meet with leaders from Hat Yai, Ayutthaya, and Thung Song marked one step in raising the level of dialogue between local ASEAN governments, to coordinate not just on economic development but on sustainable development. The exchange posed the question: How can ASEAN cities urbanize to provide benefits equitably and sustainably, while avoiding the worst impacts of climate change?

The big question on the Vietnam team’s minds was about last year’s “Mega Flood” in Thailand and its iconic images of inundated streets, homes, and factories. As Dr. Thongchai Roachanakanan from the Office of Climate Change Convention remarked, the flood produced one of the largest economic losses in human history. What were the main causes of this devastating flood, and how could its worst impacts be avoided in Vietnam?

As we learned throughout the three day visit, the answer to this question varies considerably between different stakeholders in Thailand: it is an open, ongoing dialogue, and major challenge for the country as a whole.

On-the-Ground Following 2011 “Mega Flood” in Ayutthaya