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Cumulative Pressures on Sustainable Livelihoods: Coastal Adaptation in the Mekong Delta

Author

Listed:
  • Timothy F. Smith

    () (Sustainability Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC 4558, Australia)

  • Dana C. Thomsen

    () (Sustainability Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC 4558, Australia)

  • Steve Gould

    () (Sustainability Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC 4558, Australia)

  • Klaus Schmitt

    () (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Soc Trang Province, Vietnam)

  • Bianca Schlegel

    () (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Soc Trang Province, Vietnam)

Abstract

Many coastal areas throughout the world are at risk from sea level rise and the increased intensity of extreme events such as storm surge and flooding. Simultaneously, many areas are also experiencing significant socio-economic challenges associated with rural-urban transitions, population growth, and increased consumption resulting from improving gross regional product. Within this context we explore the viability of proposed adaptation pathways in Soc Trang province, Vietnam — an area of the Mekong Delta experiencing cumulative pressures on coastal livelihoods. A participatory workshop and interviews, using a combination of systems thinking and futures techniques, revealed a shared goal of sustainable livelihoods, which provides an integrated and systemic focus for coastal adaptation strategies. Emphasizing sustainable livelihoods is less likely to lead to maladaptation because stakeholders consciously seek to avoid optimizing particular system elements at the expense of others — and thus engage in broader decision-making frameworks supportive of social-ecological resilience. However, the broad ambit required for sustainable livelihoods is not supported by governance frameworks that have focused on protective strategies (e.g., dyke building, strengthening and raising, to continue and expand agriculture and aquaculture production) at the expense of developing a diverse suite of adaptation strategies, which may lead to path dependencies and an ultimate reduction in adaptive capacity for system transformation.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy F. Smith & Dana C. Thomsen & Steve Gould & Klaus Schmitt & Bianca Schlegel, 2013. "Cumulative Pressures on Sustainable Livelihoods: Coastal Adaptation in the Mekong Delta," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(1), pages 1-14, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:5:y:2013:i:1:p:228-241:d:22937
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thomas G Measham & Benjamin L Preston & Cassandra Brooke & Tim F Smith & Craig Morrison & Geoff Withycombe & Russell Gorddard, 2010. "Adapting to Climate Change Through Local Municipal Planning: Barriers and Opportunities," Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED) Working Paper Series 2010-05, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.
    2. Thomas Measham & Benjamin Preston & Timothy Smith & Cassandra Brooke & Russell Gorddard & Geoff Withycombe & Craig Morrison, 2011. "Adapting to climate change through local municipal planning: barriers and challenges," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 16(8), pages 889-909, December.
    3. Roger Jones, 2001. "An Environmental Risk Assessment/Management Framework for Climate Change Impact Assessments," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 23(2), pages 197-230, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2017:i:1:p:58-:d:124593 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ferrol-Schulte, Daniella & Gorris, Philipp & Baitoningsih, Wasistini & Adhuri, Dedi S. & Ferse, Sebastian C.A., 2015. "Coastal livelihood vulnerability to marine resource degradation: A review of the Indonesian national coastal and marine policy framework," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 163-171.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    coastal livelihoods; adaptation; adaptive capacity; Mekong; Vietnam;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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