18 June 2012
Working towards a climate risk toolkit
RMIT University has hosted a collaborative workshop in Vietnam as part of a project to develop a climate change risk assessment toolkit for secondary cities in the developing world.
Funded by the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN), the project focuses on Hue in central Vietnam and Satkhira in Bangladesh and involves local partners from academic, NGO, and local communities.
The Climate Change Adaptation Program (CCAP), part of RMIT's Global Cities Research Institute, hosted the workshop at Hue to bring together Vietnamese and Bangladeshi academic and community partners.
Professor Darryn McEvoy, leader of CCAP and chief investigator for the project, said bringing local experts together provided a valuable input to the toolkit development process.
"We want to ensure that our research is informed by local knowledge and expertise," Professor McEvoy said.
"This project was deliberately set up to facilitate the sharing of experience and knowledge between two developing countries experiencing similar issues - a great example of 'south-south' learning.
"As cities facing similar climate-related risks, both now and into the future, there are many opportunities for Hue and Satkhira to learn from each other's experiences, as well as using this interaction to inform their adaptation planning."
The Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD) and the Southern Institute of Sustainable Development (SISD) are the Vietnamese representatives on the project, while BRAC University and the Institute of Water and Flood Management are the Bangladeshi partners.
Using assessment guidance developed by CCAP, two country project teams have spent the early months of 2012 applying and testing the toolkit in vulnerable neighbourhoods in their respective cities.
The interim workshop in Hue provided the opportunity for both teams to report back on their findings and discuss how the toolkit could be improved to ensure that the final version is most suitable for local users.
Professor McEvoy joined RMIT's Dr Ifte Ahmed and Alexei Trundle as facilitators of the workshop.
Dr Ahmed said the climate change risk assessment toolkit needed to take into consideration the various challenges of using it in a developing country context.
"At the workshop, both the country teams reported that the toolkit was both generic enough to be used in their specific contexts and flexible enough for local adaptations to be made," he said.
As a newly appointed Research Assistant at CCAP, the event was Mr Trundle's first involvement with an RMIT workshop in Vietnam.
"It provided invaluable on-the-ground understanding of the very real climate impacts already faced by Bangladeshi and Vietnamese communities, as well as highlighting the challenges surrounding the integration of future climate change scenarios with rapidly changing urban contexts and socio-economic circumstances," he said.
The final project workshop will be held in Satkhira, Bangladesh, in July, where the finalised APN toolkit will be disseminated.
The Hue workshop forms part of an ongoing commitment to climate change adaptation activity by RMIT in Vietnam, and follows climate change workshops run by CCAP in 2010 (Hue) and 2011 (Tra Vinh in the Mekong Delta).
Researchers are working on a climate change risk assessment toolkit for secondary cities in the developing world, such as Hue in central Vietnam.
The collaborative workshop brought together Vietnamese and Bangladeshi academic and community partners..