Thailand is one of the countries in Southeast Asia which have explored options for integrating climate change into national planning and budgeting. It was also one of the first group of five countries to produce a Climate Change Public Expenditure and Institutional Review and has played a leading role in piloting analysis of how climate change affects the benefits from public expenditure.
These guidelines are an important step in moving towards changes in the procedures used for planning and budgeting and so embedding climate change within the management routines for public policy and expenditure. Initially, they will be used in a pilot form, with selected ministries.
The biggest challenge facing the integration of climate change into planning and budgeting is the need to build awareness and capacity. This starts with the need to understand how climate change will affect the Thai people, especially (but not exclusively) in the key sectors of agriculture, forestry, water, energy, infrastructure and health. Building this understanding of climate change is not easy and will take five to ten years.
At the same time as building understanding about climate change, the government will also build capacity in redesigning services and investments to help protect people from climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Building this capacity is a major task, but it is less complicated than it might seem, once the basis understanding of climate change is in place. These guidelines describe methods to integrate climate change into project design which range from demanding cost benefit analysis, suitable only for large investments, to rapid assessment based on expert opinion that can be done in a few hours, if there is already an understanding of climate change.