Home to 177 million people, the densely populated Asian mega-deltas are biodiverse, fertile and productive food baskets dominated by rice, fisheries and aquaculture and so hold a great potential to make the regional and food systems more sustainable. They support millions of people beyond the delta dwellers themselves. Deltas are nearing a significant tipping point. Tens of millions of small-scale producers in Asian mega-deltas face risks to food and nutrition security and livelihoods from the impacts of climate change.
Recent models of coastal elevation show that the Asian mega-deltas are much lower than previously assumed and will be severely affected by more frequent and more intense floods, sea-level rise and salinization of freshwater and soil. The models also predict water shortages, severe cyclones and climate extremes, which could lead to an annual loss of 6% of GDP in Southeast Asia, over twice the global average. These trends will put increased pressure on those remaining. The result is likely further erosion of food security and increased poverty and hunger.
This Initiative aims to create resilient, inclusive and productive deltas, which maintain socio-ecological integrity, adapt to climatic and other stressors, and support human prosperity and wellbeing, by removing systemic barriers to the scaling of transformative technologies and practices at community, national and regional levels.