USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific strengthens countries’ capacities to adapt to climate change

Release date: 

Jan 28 2016

Woman paddling a boat in Kampong Phluk village in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  Photo credit: ADB, via Flickr

A mix of 15 junior, mid-level, and senior government officials from eight countries in Asia-Pacific gained critical skills and built their capacities to adapt to climate change through the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific Government Training Support Program over the course of last year.

The Program – or GTSP for short – supports qualified government officials from USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific eligible countries, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal, the Philippines, and Timor Leste, to attend high-quality training courses in climate adaptation and climate finance on a competitive basis.

These officials, including four women, came from a wide range of government institutions, departments, and ministries, including science, technology and environment and finance. Out of the 15, four were from local governments at the city, district, and provincial level.

After attending a climate change governance course, Deputy Director at Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ms. Nguyen Thanh Thao, said that she can now provide better advice to relevant departments and ministries to improve water resource management and governance in her country.

Other trainees, like Ms. Nguyen, also said that their participation in similar courses has changed the way they address the issues of climate adaptation in their home countries – for example, by taking a more holistic approach, focusing on results-based planning, and prioritizing adaptation for more effective project management.

Some officials have also come forward as champions equipped with technical knowledge, techniques, and tools to create change for adaptation policies and activities in their home countries. Mr. Virasith Phomsouvanh, who is an Assistant Director at a remote sensing center in Lao PDR’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said that he has imparted training on GIS and remote sensing techniques along with disaster management theory to local officers, while supporting the design of projects.

GTSP is also proving to deliver results on-the-ground. Mr. Patrick Jasper, Assistant General Manager at India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, said that he gained better techniques and skills to prepare and appraise adaptation projects through an agriculture and adaptation course he attended. He is currently working on three project proposals on ecosystem-based adaptation to improve the resilience of rural farmers in drought-prone areas in India.

Dr. Md. Matiur Rahman, Health Chief Officer from Barisal City in Bangladesh, who attended a course on flood disaster risk management, has also begun to integrate disaster management activities into his city’s development projects, one of which targets disaster-prone areas of riverside slums.

Overall the 15 officials have significantly increased their technical capabilities and expanded their climate change-related responsibilities in their offices, thereby moving towards achieving climate adaptation objectives in their countries. They have also improved their job performance all around, creating a positive impact on their colleagues and workplaces.

But while increased knowledge and capacities to do well in their day-to-day jobs are the most immediate benefits, the ultimate objective of GTSP is to build capacity of governments to identify and develop adaptation proposals to access financing.

To date, at least six of the officials have been involved in formulating climate adaptation projects for submission to climate adaptation funds, taking part in climate adaptation budgeting, and drafting adaptation-related fiscal policies. GTSP continues to support the region’s government officials until March 2016.

For more information on the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific Government Training Support Program, visit: