Session: Climate Change Adaptation – Challenges for Developing Countries

Climate Change Adaptation Stream


Day 1, Parallel Session 1C: 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Location: Storey Hall (Building 16), Lower Lecture Theatre, Level 1, Room 1

Chair: Professor Darryn McEvoy (RMIT University)


Ifte Ahmed In Support of Urban Adaptation: A Participatory Assessment Process for Secondary Cities in Vietnam and Bangladesh

  • Presenter and main author: Dr Iftekhar Ahmed (RMIT University)
  • Abstract: Vietnam and Bangladesh are countries highly vulnerable to weather-related extreme events. Climate change, and changes to climate variability, will increase the risks for both countries in the future. This presentation reflects on the lessons learned from collaborative research activity that was carried out jointly in the Vietnamese city of Huế and the Bangladeshi city of Satkhira (the focus on secondary cities was intentional as they face unique challenges – a combination of rapid growth and development, climate impacts, and in many cases less institutional adaptive capacity to respond than primary cities). Whilst numerous assessment toolkits already exist, these have typically been developed for rural contexts. The objective was therefore to develop a flexible suite of assessment methodologies targeted specifically to the urban environment; as well as being suitable for use by local practitioners at the city and neighbourhood scales. The presentation will summarise the stages of the assessment exercise and highlight the main findings from each of the case study cities.
  • Co-authors: Professor Darryn McEvoy (RMIT University) and Alexei Trundle (RMIT University)
  • About the presenter: Ifte Ahmed is a Research Fellow at RMIT University, Melbourne, conducting research on post-disaster reconstruction and sustainability of housing systems in a number of countries around the world. Previously he worked at the Climate Change Adaptation Program at RMIT University, of which is now an associate, and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, Thailand. Ifte completed his PhD from Oxford Brookes University, UK; Master of Science in Architecture Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA; Bachelor of Architecture (Hons) from the Indian Institute of Technology, India. He has written several books and has many peer-reviewed publications to his credit.
Subas Dhakal Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Strategies in Bangladesh: The Tale of Three Coastal Cities

  • Presenter and main author: Dr Subas P Dhakal (Southern Cross University)
  • Abstract: Since the adoption of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, international development agencies active in Bangladesh have focused on cyclone shelters as a way to address climate change concerns within disaster risk reduction strategies. The country currently has about 2,500 shelters and it is believed that up to 5,500 additional shelters are needed in order to build adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities. Finding resources for new cyclone shelters is a formidable challenge for aid-dependent countries like Bangladesh, and optimum utilization and management of existing shelters remains prudent. And yet, enhancing the management aspects of existing cyclone shelters has been overshadowed by the drive to build new shelters. This presentation responds to this gap and explores the state of cyclone shelters in three of the most vulnerable coastal districts – Barisal, Cox’s Bazaar, and Patuakhali. The findings indicate that existing shelters while useful in minimizing the extent of loss of lives – are plagued with spatial and social inequality. The presentation ends with a contention that institutionalizing community based governance is necessary to accommodate the needs of the most vulnerable people within already vulnerable populations.
  • Co-author: Dr Muhammad N Mahmood (Southern Cross University)
  • About the presenter: Dr. Subas P Dhakal is affiliated with Southern Cross University as a Lecturer/Postdoctoral Research Fellow under the Collaborative Research Network (CRN) Programme. He is an environmental manager by training with core interests in policy and planning for sustainable urban and regional development. Subas has worked in various sustainable development projects in South Asia as well as taught sustainability units at Murdoch University and Southern Cross University. His research experiences/publications has been in the area of community-based approaches to disaster preparedness, environmental management, and regional resilience.
Georgina Numbasa Land Tenure and Climate Change Adaptation in Papua New Guinea

  • Presenter and main author: Georgina Numbasa (RMIT University)
  • Abstract: This study examines the adaptive capacities of communities with various land tenure types from free hold (state and private), informal and customary tenures in Wewak, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. The effect of climate change in PNG is serious and is predicted to worsen into the future. Given that increasing tides, floods and landslides will have adverse effects on coastal and inland communities, the result is devastating when it affects, loss of land with limited or no access to land and livelihoods. To date there is very little information on how communities are responding to the impacts of climate change especially when it affects access to land, tenure and security. By examining the tenure security of the communities, it would be necessary to determine the adaptive capacity of the communities with different tenures and the level of assistance needed. This will help contribute to develop useful climate change adaptation plans for the communities.
  • About the presenter: Georgina Numbasa is enrolled as a candidate for a Doctor of Philosophy in Land Information with the School of Mathematics and Geospatial Science at the RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Before taking up studies, Georgina was teaching at the University of Papua New Guinea. Georgina was also the National Consultant to UN Habitat on Sustainable Cities Program and Cities and Climate Change Initiative also providing technical advice to the government and private sectors. Georgina’s teaching and research interest is in Environmental Planning and Management; Land Use and Climate Change Adaptation Planning in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.