Mobilising resources to cope with climate change

Monday, 2018-07-16 16:29:26
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Drought caused by climate change has become a serious problem for Vietnam in recent years. (Photo: VNA)
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NDO - Vietnam is one of the countries that will be most severely affected by climate change in the coming decades, especially sea level rises in coastal areas. In order to actively respond to climate change, Vietnam has been trying to create resources to limit the impacts caused by climate change.

The Mekong Delta is one of the three deltas most hit by climate change in the world due to rising sea levels. A climate change scenario shows that the temperature at the end of the century will increase by roughly 3.4 degrees Celsius, and if the sea level rises to 100 centimetres, approximately 40% of the land area of the delta will be flooded. Climate change also increases the risk of natural disasters and extreme weather events, such as heavy rains, storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes, which will affect the livelihoods of people in the region.

The exploitation of upstream water resources, especially the construction of hydropower dams, has also changed the flow of water, reduced the amount of sediment and fisheries resources, as well as causing deep salinisation in the region and negative impacts on the local socio-economic development. Furthermore, riverbank, canal and coastline erosion are occurring in most of the Mekong Delta provinces. The latest statistics show that the whole region has 562 landslide areas with a total length of 786 km, of which 42 areas are in particular danger with a total length of 148 km.

According to Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Tran Hong Ha, the recent extreme manifestations of climate change, such as storms, tropical pressure, floods, droughts and tides, in Vietnam have increased in both terms of intensity and abnormality. The Government and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) have carried out many important tasks to cope with this situation.

From 2011 to present, the Government has invested in works in adaption to climate change in the Mekong Delta provinces, the northern mountainous provinces, the Central Highlands and coastal provinces and cities, with a total budget of nearly VND19 trillion. The funds have been used to upgrade the salinity control system; upgrade sea dykes and river dykes in key areas; upgrade water storage and supply systems for daily life, production and flood control; and plant watershed-protection forests.

The MONRE has researched and proposed to the competent authorities for promulgation a number of mechanisms, policies and regulations on response to climate change, such as a national strategy on climate change; the national action plan on climate change and local action plan to respond to climate change; a plan for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement in localities nationwide; and a strategy for green growth in the 2011 - 2020 period with a vision to 2050. Notably, on November 17, 2017, the Prime Minister issued Resolution No.120/NQ-CP on the sustainable development of the Mekong Delta in adaption with climate change, in which the MONRE has been assigned to coordinate with the ministries, agencies and localities concerned to quickly review data and improve the basic survey on natural resources and environment in the Mekong Delta; as well as establish an inter-sectorial database on the Mekong Delta which is linked to the database of the Mekong River Commission and upgrade and modernise the monitoring, warning and forecast systems on natural resources and the environment.

However, the reality also shows that the legal documents on climate change are still lacking and are not synchronous. The contingent of cadres working in the management of climate change in the locality remains thin, while there is not a synchronous system of state management in the field of climate change from central to local levels. At present, Vietnam is in the first phase of specialised training in response to climate change, so the human resources are in short supply. In particular, the budget for climate change is limited compared with the actual requirements, mainly for the development of mechanisms and policies and the implementation of some basic research and assessment of the impacts of climate change. Vietnam has not mobilised social capital for climate change response.

In the near future, the MONRE will strengthen state management on climate change on a national scale; coordinate with ministries, branches and localities in mobilising international and social resources for the effective implementation of the national strategy on climate change; direct the development of a roadmap for the implementation of the Paris Agreement; and effectively implement the Government's Resolution No.120; while studying solutions for climate change adaptation in the South Central region, Central Highlands and other strongly affected areas in the country.