Women in developing countries are widely considered to be among those most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change, alongside the very poor, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized groups. As such, there has been a recent push to integrate gender considerations into climate change responses. Donor or climate fund proposal requirements now generally contain a gender component and several resources have cropped up for practitioners on how to integrate gender into climate change mitigation and adaptation activities.
In a new report, USAID Mekong Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change (USAID Mekong ARCC) explores the gender dimensions of vulnerability to climate change in agrarian communities of the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB). The report, entitled Integrating Gender Considerations into Community-based Adaptation in Agrarian Communities in the Lower Mekong Basin, aims to highlight insights, opportunities and challenges that may help policymakers and practitioners carry out more inclusive, gender-responsive adaptation planning for rural communities. It also contributes toward expanding our understanding of gender and community-based adaptation (CBA) based on the project's on-the-ground experience in adaptation planning and implementation in the Lower Mekong Basin. The paper highlights key lessons learned and provides recommendations on how to integrate gender considerations into CBA in order to account for differentiated vulnerabilities to climate change impacts.
The report draws heavily on USAID Mekong ARCC’s experience planning and implementing CBA activities with rural communities across Cambodia (Kampong Thom Province), Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Khammouan Province), Thailand (Chiang Rai and Sakon Nakhon Provinces) and Vietnam (Kien Giang Province). These communities are located in “hotspot” areas of the Lower Mekong Basin which are projected to experience the greatest changes in temperature and rainfall based on global climate models. Their vulnerability and adaptive capacity to climate change impacts is shaped by their relatively poor economic status, though there is significant variation between the sites. Climate-related shocks and stresses - such as increased temperatures, extreme weather events and irregular rainfall - are projected to place pressure on their predominantly agrarian livelihoods.