This report is an account of a cross-country study that covered Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Covering four sites (one each in Indonesia and Vietnam) and two sites in the Philippines, the study documented the impacts of three climate hazards affecting coastal communities, namely typhoon/flooding, coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion. It also analyzed planned adaptation options, which communities and local governments can implement, as well as autonomous responses of households to protect and insure themselves from these hazards. It employed a variety of techniques, ranging from participatory based approaches such as community hazard mapping and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) to regression techniques, to analyze the impact of climate change and the behavior of affected communities and households.
Results show that households in coastal communities face a confluence of risks and often adapt simultaneously to these risks. These risks have the most impact on the sources and types of livelihoods of households. Foregone income due to these risks was in fact found to be higher than the value of damages from loss of assets including damage to houses. Foregone income in the end affected consumption patterns. Using the Vulnerability as Expected Poverty (VEP) as a measure, it was found that the incidence of vulnerable households is highest in Palawan, Philippines (56%), followed by Vietnam (46%), Batangas, Philippines (42%) and then Indonesia (35%). The mean vulnerability estimate for Palawan is 0.51, which means that on average the probability that households will fall below the minimum consumption level (at which they will be considered poor) is 51%. For Vietnam, the mean vulnerability is 0.43, while Batangas and Indonesia have mean estimates of 0.38 and 0.37, respectively.
Various planned adaptation options, which communities and local governments can implement, were studied using cost effectiveness analysis. A consistent and common result across three sites is that ecosystem-based approaches (or natural barriers such as mangroves) are more cost effective than hard infrastructure investments. There also seem to be a preponderance of protective measures when, in fact, the main impact or risk from these hazards is really on the livelihoods of coastal-based communities. In Batangas, for example, it was found that livelihood diversification is a viable planned adaptation measure.
Factors that determine autonomous or private responses to climate hazards were also assessed. It was found that there are geographical and spatial differences in adaptation patterns, suggesting that households react rationally to the degree of threats from the hazards. For instance, households near riverbanks are more likely to employ autonomous adaptation strategies against flooding. Evidence was also found that planned adaptation “crowds out” private or autonomous adaptation. Presence of natural barriers such as mangroves and riverbank rehabilitation schemes result in less likelihood of autonomous adaptation to flooding and saltwater intrusion being pursued. Income from external sources, such as disaster relief, also tends to crowd out autonomous adaptation. Social capital, which was represented by the number of people from whom the respondents can turn to for loans with some level of certainty, had a positive effect on the likelihood of autonomous adaptation. There was also some gender dimension in adaptation. In particular, households with more female members have lower likelihood of pursuing autonomous adaptation to flooding and typhoon, but higher
adaptation to saltwater intrusion. Unfortunately the study did not assess the reasons for this behavior in more detail, as this was not part of the original design.