Climate Justice Concerns Amongst Ethnic Communities in Northern Thailand

Climate Justice Concerns Amongst Ethnic Communities in Northern Thailand

A report published in August 2018 shows how climate justice concerns have impacted the “adaptation of girls and young women in ethnic and linguistic minority communities in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces in Northern Thailand.” “Data was collected from six schools and six villages across nine different locations in the districts of Mae Fah Luang (Chiang Rai province), Fang and Mae Ai (Chiang Mai province).” In this regard, a “total of 26 interviews and 17 focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted, involving a total of 157 participants.”

With respect to climate justice concerns amongst ethnic communities, the report highlights that water scarcity due to climate change is a prominent concern especially for young women in villages of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces. For instance, “Young women in nearly all of the target villages highlighted challenges in accessing water”. Water scarcity has impacted climate justice amongst women in the villages because “the lack of access to water creates a serious burden for women in particular as they are largely responsible for water collection for their households.” “During periods of water scarcity, young women are required to travel further to find alternative water sources. Since water is increasingly hard to find due to climate change, and the closest available water source may now be located farther away, young women need to spend more time securing and transporting water, often travelling by foot.”

Climate justice concerns are also experienced amongst the adults and children from the target villages of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces. From the report it is evident that, “adults and children alike perceive climate change as making farmers’ lives more difficult and as something that negatively impacts incomes.” Similarly, another challenge associated with climate justice is evident amongst the village children. Here, “girls and boys support their parents and other relatives to harvest crops, spread fertilizer, maintain farms and sell products at market. Sometimes this occurs before school on the weekends and during school holidays and sometimes children must miss school to work on the farm, particularly to assist with harvesting.”

The report indicates that “as climate change continues to cause extreme weather and intensification of seasons, food and nutritional security will remain a significant challenge for households. Children, whose development depends on a healthy and balanced diet, stand to lose out as a result of this trend as families seek additional support to make ends meet.” The Report goes on to say that “girls remain particularly vulnerable as they are often the last member of the household to eat and the first to go hungry when food is in short supply.”

The Report outlines some major recommendations, which are listed below:

  • Provide girls with access to education to support climate action and participation- this can be achieved by facilitating gender-sensitive educational programmes on climate change that help girls and children better understand climate change
  • Empower young women and girls towards leadership in climate action
  • Support young women and girls in pursuing sustainable livelihoods that build resilience- this can be achieved by developing “girls’ life skills for a green economy. Also support green skills vocational training for girls and young women through tailored education programming, including training in minority languages for girls and young women from different ethnic groups
  • Ensure social safety support nets for young mothers and girls affected by migration
  • Actively respond to young women’s and girl’s needs in natural and water resource accessibility. This can be achieved by “exploring the potential of rainwater harvesting and other means of securing safe water supplies for the most vulnerable without increasing financial resources and time burdens on women and girls.”
  • Design and facilitate interventions that ensure young women and girls are able to lead healthy lives in the face of climate change. This can be achieved by “ensuring the affordability and accessibility of safe, nutritious foods for young women and girls.” Here, it is essential to “invest in nutritious meals at school to improve cognition and learning and reduce susceptibility to illnesses among children.”

To know more about climate justice status in Thailand, please visit the August 2018 report titled “Climate change, young women and girls: vulnerability, impacts and adaptations in northern Thailand” at https://reliefweb.int/report/thailand/climate-change-young-women-and-girls-vulnerability-impacts-and-adaptations-northern and visit the full report at https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/cc_young_women_girls_plan_and_sei_version_16082018.pdf


Activity Ranking: *** Good Move but more needs to be done

The recommendations outlined in the report are a significant move forward in addressing climate justice concerns in Thailand. However, more needs to be done. In this regard, the Thai government should develop a concrete action plan at a national level, which safeguards young women, girls, and children from the impacts of climate change. The action plan should incorporate two key measures for addressing climate justice concerns. First, advanced water-storage infrastructures and technologies for producing viable water sources should be created in villages across Thailand where water-sources are limited due to climate change-induced events.  This measure will ensure that village women and girls can collect water more easily. Secondly, programs should be developed in order to ensure that girls and young women have access to nutritional food sources. Training workshops on food security and food safety for girls should be facilitated.


Take Action

In order to effectively address the climate justice concerns for children, young women and girls in Thailand related to 1) water availability and 2) food and nutritional security, you can send the following action alert message to the Office of the Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP):

We congratulate the Government of Thailand for being proactive in addressing climate justice concerns in the country. More is yet to be done to ensure that the climate justice concerns of children, young women and girls are effectively addressed in the country. In this regard, your role as a prominent member of the Office of the Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP), will be vital. Here, Climate Scorecard requests you to kindly develop a concrete action plan at a national level, which safeguards young women, girls, and children from the impacts of climate change. The action plan should incorporate two key measures for addressing climate justice concerns in Thailand. First, advanced water-storage infrastructures and technologies for producing viable water sources should be created in villages across Thailand where water-sources are limited due to climate change-induced events. Secondly, children, girls and young women need to have access to nutritional food sources. Training workshops on food security and food safety for children and girls should be implemented.

Send Action Alert Message to:

Dr. Raweewan Bhuridej

Secretary General

Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning

60/1 Soi Pibulwatana 7, Rama VI Road,

Phayathai, Bangkok 10400 Thailand

Telephone: 0-2265-6506, Fax: 0-2265-6506

Email: rawewan@onep.go.th

Dr. Asadaporn Kraipanont

Deputy Secretary General

Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning

60/1 Soi Pibulwatana 7, Rama VI Road,

Phayathai, Bangkok 10400 Thailand

Telephone: 0-2265-6505, Fax: 0-2265-6506

Email: kasdaporn@gmail.com


For more information please contact Climate Scorecard Thailand Country Manager Neebir Banerjee: Neebir@climatescorecard.org or neebirban@yahoo.com

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