May 6, 2016

Opening the Second Annual Meeting and Workshop of Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia Partnership program (UCRSEA) in Hanoi, H.E. David Devine, Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam, highlighted the importance of building resilient urban futures for the countries in the Mekong region. With extensive droughts and record high temperatures across Southeast Asia, the threats of climate change are increasingly apparent. In one of the most rapidly urbanizing regions in the world, Mekong cities face changing risks and vulnerabilities; there is an urgent need to reshape critical urban systems and infrastructure for safe service deliveries.

Over 60 academics, civil society representatives, government officials and post-graduate students from Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Canada came together at the event, co-hosted by the Centre for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (CRES) at Vietnam National University, to discuss the implications of regionalization, urbanization and climate change and to address the challenges of addressing climate vulnerability. The event was held from 24-27 April 2016 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Amrita Daniere, Professor of Geography and incoming Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean at U of T Mississauga, is the UCRSEA Co-Director. Dylan Jones (Department of Physics), postdoctoral researcher Vanessa Lamb and several Master’s and PhD students from Geography, Planning and Sustainability Management programs at U of T are involved with the project, which is based in Canada at the Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs.

The UCRSEA project aims to develop innovative research partnerships and contribute to influencing policy change by generating scientific evidence and providing space for informed public dialogue.

UCRSEA’s distinguished International Advisory Board highlighted the importance of the project’s research at the three-day event. Bhichit Rattakul, formal governor of Bangkok, Thailand, and Director of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), highlighted the importance of engaging with the eight selected project cities to translate research on resilience into practical solutions that can be taken up by other cities in the region. Professor Nay Htun (Stony Brook University) warned of the urgency of addressing climate futures, and the risks of a world that is four degrees warmer than pre-industrial times. Dr. Bach Than Sinh from the National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and Strategy Studies (NISTPASS) in Vietnam reminded those in attendance of the need to ensure that urban futures are ecological viable and socially just.

A key element of the UCRSEA partnership is support for the training of early career academics and post-graduate students. As part of the annual meeting and workshop, UCRSEA hosted a writeshop at Vietnam National University on April 28 to build up the research proposal writing and design capacity of Vietnamese graduate students.

Funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, UCRSEA is a partnership between the University of Toronto and the Thailand Environment Institute (TEI) with a network of key universities, non-governmental organizations and government bodies in the Mekong region and Canada.

Learn more about UCRSEA on our current projects page or contact Alicia Filipowich (Project Manager, Canada), Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia Partnership University of Toronto at