Adaptation pathways for climate-resilient development: Selected cases in Cambodia, Myanmar, and the Philippines (Adaptation pathways for CRD)

Cambodia, Myanmar and the Philippines have repeatedly experienced extreme climate events such as typhoons, flooding and drought causing severe losses and damages to crops, properties and livelihood. Climate projections indicate that changes in rainfall and temperature could aggravate agricultural productivity losses.

Despite the repeated occurrence of climate-related events, responses of households, communities and local government units (which are often the development planners) focus on the short-term, rather than long- term. But short-term response is merely coping. Developing climate resilience will require longer term adjustments, referred to as adaptation which has to be integrated in development processes.

The research project will provide understanding of adaptation decisions of communities and local development planners frequently affected by climatic related hazards. Tracking and examining adaptation strategies will reveal if these are building the community’s climate resilience or incompatible with local development. This could guide policy makers and planners mainstream adapta- tion to climate-related hazards in development planning.

Research questions

1. What climate hazards have the study areas faced over time? What have been the impacts of these hazards on households, communities, and local government units or development planners?

2. What have been the adaptation strategies of households, communities and local planners to cope with the effects of climate-related hazards over time? How did these strategies evolve? What was the tipping point that triggered change in adaptation strategies?

3. Have these adaptation strategies been compatible with local development and improving community resilience? Did these reduce the impacts of the ensuing climate-related hazards?

4. What adaptation strategies are households, communities and local government units/development planners planning to prepare for climate-related hazards events in the future? Are these supporting a climate-resilient development? What should be done to integrate climate resilience and socio-economic development?


1.     To identify climate-related hazards that have affected households, communities and local government units and assess the impacts of these hazards over time;

2.     To track adaptation strategies of households, communities and local government units to cope with the effects of climate-related hazards overtime and examine what triggered change in adaptation strategies;

3.     To determine if adaptation strategies have been compatible with local development and improving community’s climate resilience;

4.     To identify adaptation strategies households, communities and local government units are planning to prepare for climate-related hazards in the future; and

5.     To recommend measures to integrate climate resilience and socio-economic development.


For each country, four rural communities in provinces or regions that are constantly affected by climatic-related hazards will be chosen as study sites. These communities are local level government units that can refer to a district in Cambodia and Myanmar; or a municipality in the case of the Philippines. Selection of the most vulnerable areas (e.g., villages, commune) will be done in consultation with local authorities. Based on reported losses and damages due to flooding and drought in the last ten or more years, these provinces will include Battambang and Prey Veng in Cambodia; Ayeyarwady and Magway regions in Myanmar; and Bulacan and Pampanga in the Philippines.

Primary data will be gathered through household surveys, key informant interviews (KII), and focus group discussions (FGD). Data on household socioeconomic profile, types of climate hazards experienced, their impact on livelihood, and adaptation strategies implemented will be gathered through the household survey.

At the community level, secondary data on climate hazards and impacts, socio-demographic characteristics and development indicators of study areas will also be gathered from various sources. Climate change adaptation and/or disaster risk management plans, and development plans will be obtained from local and sub-national government units.

Adaptation strategies and adaptation pathways across the three countries will be compared to draw lessons and possible policy recommendations. In the process, adaptation strategies and adaptation pathways will be identified for integration in each country case (study area) development plan to ensure climate resilience.

Boundary partners

Local level institutions/government units in the study areas: 

•    Cambodia – local authority unit.

•    Myanmar – local counterpart of ministry of planning.

•    Philippines – municipal government units.

Sub-national level institutions involved in disaster risk management and/or climate change adaptation and development planning include:

•    Cambodia – Provincial Committee for Disaster Management (PCDM) and District Committee for Disaster Management (DCDM) in both provinces and the district office.

•    Myanmar – Regional/State (sub-national level) counterpart of the Ministry of Planning.

•    Philippines – Regional office of economic planning and development authority; regional office of disaster risk reduction and management.

Policy impacts expected

This research project will have a strong policy impact by providing policy

makers at the local, subnational, and national levels with knowledge and appreciation of the people’s adaptation behaviour and various phases of adaptation pathways that they can apply in planning towards climate resilient development. The target policy makers are not only those who are directly concerned with disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) and climate change adaptation (CCA) but also with sustainable development encompassing poverty alleviation, social development and environmental management.

The participation of local development planners as boundary partners in the entire research process already provides an avenue for informing policy. Policy and decision makers will acquire knowledge on the basic elements of risk/adaptive management, vulnerability assessment and resilience enhancement, which can help them identify tipping points that require policy action and upscale research results. Lessons learned from this research shall be disseminated to policy makers to influence climate compatible development efforts.


1.     At least two peer-reviewed papers on adaptation pathways for journal publications.

2.     One book chapter synthesizing the research results for the SUMERNET Phase III book.

3.     Three policy briefs on climate compatible development planning directed towards the policy makers in the three countries.

4.     At least one scientific paper on adaptation pathway analysis for climate compatible development for presentation in local and international conferences.

Lead contact

Dr. Maria Ana T. Quimbo

College of Public Affairs and Development, University of the Philippines Los Baños College, Laguna, Philippines 4031.