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Climate change, young women and girls: vulnerability, impacts and adaptation in Northern Thailand

Southeast Asia is a regional “hotspot” for climate change risk due to the high exposure of large populations of climate related disasters, dependence on seasonal rains for water and food security, and a host of other factors including high poverty rates, inequality, rapid urbanisation and unsustainable natural resource use.

Michael Boyland, Karlee Johnson / Published on 21 August 2018

Girls and boys take part in a climate change adaptation project activity in Thailand. Photo: Plan International

In Northern Thailand agriculture is critical, as farming in the region produces food for the whole country and beyond, as well as supporting the livelihoods of a significant percentage of the population. However, Thailand has experienced recent shifts in temperature and precipitation, and climate-related disasters such as the months-long flooding of 2011 and the widespread drought of 2015-16 have increased the vulnerability of the agriculture sector and those that depend on it. Currently, 55% of the nation’s total area is under agricultural use, and changes in climatic conditions, particularly reduced rainfall, have the potential to destabilise agricultural productivity and greatly impact farmers’ incomes and lives.

Climate change vulnerability is higher among certain groups, including women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples. Demonstrating climate change impacts and challenges faced by girls and young women in Northern Thailand’s agricultural communities is vital to encourage decision-makers, donors and development actors to take action and adopt gender-sensitive and child-centred climate change adaptation policies, programmes and financing.

This report seeks to address the current major gap in research on this topic through better understanding of the different climate risks, vulnerabilities, adaptation and resilience among people of different ages and genders, focusing specifically on climate challenges faced by young women and girls in Northern Thailand whose experiences are not only influenced by age and gender, but also by poverty, legal status, ethnicity, language and education.

SEI authors

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