Living Deltas

The Living Deltas Research Hub is funded for five years (2019-2024) and operates across four delta systems – Red River, Mekong deltas in Vietnam; the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna system in Bangladesh and India. We call these socio-ecological systems. The Living Deltas Hub’s AIM is to tackle the problem of delta degradation in the face of multiple threats (sea level rise and saline intrusion, mangrove degradation and loss of coastal buffering, climate change, population rise, land use changes, saline intrusion and communities health and well-being, unsustainable engineering interventions: damming, sand mining etc.). GCRF also aims at helping to delta countries to better achieve their UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Voluntary National Review agendas. The Hub aims to achieve its objectives via a process of CAPACITY-BUILDING though EQUITABLE PARTNERSHIP – only by doing this will the Hub have legacy beyond its five-year funding period. As such, this is an extremely ambitious research program – the most ambitious that the UK Research Councils have done up to now. The Hub is truly interdisciplinary and brings together the natural and physical sciences, the social sciences and the arts & humanities on an equal basis to seek new solutions (building on the research already carried out in the delta countries) to complex, intertwined issues through capacity-building and knowledge co-production towards BETTER DELTA FUTURES.

Keywords: Delta, Sustainability, Resilience, equitable livelihoods, socio-ecological systems

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Outreach lecture on “Urban Governance and Waste Management” at the joint workshop on “Strengthening Governance for Low-carbon Integrated Solid Wastes Management and Circular Economy” organized by UNITAR, GTC Korea, and UNEP

Since 2018, Dr. Sohee M. Kim, Assistant Professor at UEM has been participated as a guest lecturer in the capacity building & training programs and student workshop on “Low-carbon Integrated Solid Wastes Management and Circular Economy”, organized and funded by United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), Green Technology Center (GTC) of Korea, and UN Environment.

Keywords Circular economy, Sustainable consumption and production, Solid waste management, Urban governance

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Building a participatory civic platform in Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan through project-based ecotourism for the mitigation of ocean plastic pollution

Based on the request from Prefectural University of Hiroshima, AIT acts as a focal point in Thailand for this trilateral civic engagement project to address the ocean plastic pollution problem. Annually, eight million metric tons of plastic waste is discharged into the oceanic zone, causing serious damage to fisheries and cultural ecosystems in each country. This project will examine the potential for problem solving based on civic participation by assessing a new ecotourism model, building a civic platform, and establishing a system for monitoring, analysis, and communication of the plastic pollution through partnership with Iriomote Island, where Japan’s first ecotourism association has been spearheading the monitoring, analysis, and communication of garbage washed ashore, as well as Prefectural University of Hiroshima and Vietnam National University Hanoi Campus. Thailand and Vietnam were selected since market economy has penetrated and world-class tourism destinations flourish. The project will also engage participants from other countries in ASEAN such as Lao PRD and Cambodia.

Keywords plastic pollution, ocean environment, microplastics, common-pool resource management, ecotourism, multilateral partnership

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Low Business Opportunities in Forestry Project

This project is designed to train university lecturers, NGOs, and government officials from ASEAN member states on identifying the low-carbon business development opportunities created by forestry climate change project. Trainers were from Japan, ASEAN, and AIT. Training was held in Siem Reap in May 2019, for which more than 60 people attended.

Keywords REDD+, low carbon business, forestry, carbon credits

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Detection of Land Use Change

This is project is a research collaboration project between Lund University in NRM of SERD, AIT in Thailand and the Royal University of Agriculture. Named FRAWASA, this project is aimed at identifying land cover change in Cambodia, assessing land availability for forest restoration and climate-smart agriculture. It suggests policy interventions for reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and for increasing carbon stocks through forest restoration and smart agriculture.

Keywords REDD+, carbon emissions, carbon sequestration, carbon removals, emission reductions, forest restoration, climate smart agriculture

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What is Essential is Invisible’: Empowerment and Security in Economic Projects for Low-Income Women in Four Mekong Countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam)

This research project, using both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods, focused on women’s economic empowerment and social protection projects in four Mekong countries: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam. It involved an exploration of the gaps between the level of policy makers and intended beneficiaries in terms of their conceptions of the ideas of empowerment and security and their perceptions of what is happening on the ‘ground’. In addition, the research examined under what conditions empowerment (as locally defined) and an increase in a sense of security (again, as locally defined) came as a result of economic empowerment and social protection projects, and under what conditions there was no such apparent benefit – or even negative effects – in spite of the well-meaning intentions of the projects. One key finding is that empowerment is not a single recipe, it needs to be contextualized, and that for a large number of low income women in the four countries, empowerment was a social or relational process, an aspect of empowerment often neglected by donors and development practitioners.

Keywords Economic Empowerment, Income, Gender, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam

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Understanding Barriers and Working Pathways to Women’s Political Participation In Myanmar

The aim of the project is to assess the extent and forms of women’s participation in the political sphere in Myanmar, and explore barriers and enabling factors. We define participation beyond just actions that influence or support governments to taking part in collective decision-making in a broad sense. Previous research has demonstrated low levels of women’s representation in national, subnational, and community governance, and explored the social and cultural norms that bar women from taking leadership roles.1 This research will extend these insights to analyze the pathways to participation across multiple levels of governance: (1) National parliament, political parties, and social movements; (2) State/Division parliaments, government offices; and (3) District, township, and village groups. Using the concept of pathways will allow us to utilize and study women’s personal path to political power, to understand what can undermine at any point upward mobility in the political system and what can facilitate or provide entry points or further engagement at different moments in a woman’s life.

Keywords Gender, Political Participation, Equality, Myanmar

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Capacity building of gender and development studies at Yangon University of Economics

This project contributes to capacity building of YUE for qualitative research. It consists of graduate education at AIT, curriculum development of gender and development at YUE, qualitative research training workshop and small research projects, and joint supervision of students. As the result of the project, YUE now runs a gender and development studies graduate course.

Keywords gender, qualitative research, policy, Myanmar, graduate education

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Critical Factors for Post-Disaster Educational Continuity in Urban Flood Impacts in South and Southeast Asia

The research project investigated the critical factors for educational continuity in the case of urban flooding in South and Southeast Asia. The research studied three countries – Bangladesh, Thailand, and Vietnam – which are recurrently affected by floods.  The research specifically aimed at extrapolating the main blockers and enablers of educational continuity. Towards this goal, primary, middle and high school educational institutions were selected for analysis in each country.

Keywords DRR, Education, Flood resilience

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