Land and water resource management in Asia: challenges for climate adaptation

This paper was prepared as background to the workshop in SEA, held in Hanoi, Vietnam from January 19 to 21, 2009. The paper is intended to identify key development issues relating to land and water management in the less developed countries of the Himalayan and SEA regions, and how these are likely to be affected by long-term climate change. The paper links the issues of poverty reduction, land and water resource management, and climate adaptation in practice. Within SEA and the Himalayas, as elsewhere, land and water resource management issues are most pronounced in areas of marginal production systems, and directly connected to poverty reduction efforts. Climate change is likely to exacerbate existing challenges within these sectors in unexpected ways. The paper also reviews some of the many innovative efforts underway in the region to support land and water management and poverty reduction at multiple levels (local, national and regional). It highlights how climate change adaptation measures can complement and reinforce these innovations in land and resource management to reduce rural poverty in Asia. It concludes with the sharing of ideas regarding ways to strengthen the capacity of land and water managers to ensure their continued contribution to the sustainable development of their countries in a changing climate.