Participatory social return on investment (PSROI): Greater Mekong basin climate change adaptation planning and costing project

Development in the Mekong Region, especially advancing rural livelihoods and assuring national food security, will be threatened and perhaps even reversed if climate change adaptation is not appropriately addressed. Therefore, improved understanding of the additional investment required to adapt agriculture to climate change is critical to mobilizing donor support and providing timely resources to improve resilience and adaptive capacities. Top-down, national estimates of adaptation costs carry a risk of mismatching the availability of funds with what is actually required on the ground. Moreover, global and national policies require credible evidence from the local level, taking into account microeconomic dynamics and community appropriate adaptation strategies. Such bottom-up studies will not only improve adaptation planning (the how), but also help to validate the top-down assessments of the total costs of adaptation (the how much).

Employing a three-day participatory workshop strategy, the project works with communities in prioritizing and planning community based adaptation (CBA) strategies, followed by a complete analysis of the monetary, social and environmental impacts of the priority measures using Social Return on Investment (SROI), a novel cost-benefit analysis framework. The framework will be applied in 6-8 communities across Lao PDR and Vietnam. Emphasis is placed on training, and capacity building of local partners to implement the methodology, focusing on participatory action research, critical systems heuristics, appreciative inquiry and strength/asset-based development. Project outputs will contribute to advancements in community based adaptation planning and economic analysis, and how these components complement existing national sectoral and adaptation plans.