Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Vietnam
In response to the flooding in 2008, the Government of Viet Nam through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), requested rehabilitation assistance from FAO to support poor and flood-affected households in Phu Tho, Yen Bai and Lao Cai Provinces to restart their rice cultivation. The region was hit by a series of natural disasters including Cyclone Kammuri in August 2008 and followed by Cyclone Hagupit a month later.
In order to mitigate future threats in the region, effective planning, preparedness and technical/institutional strengthening are needed to minimize the adverse impacts of natural disasters and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Such an institutional strengthening is expected to catalyze a process to better positioning the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in the implementation of the National Strategy for Natural Disaster Prevention, Response and Mitigation and the new Climate Change Action Plan. Building institutional and technical capacity within MARD related to climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation also provided a comparative advantage to better represent the agriculture sector in the National Target Programme on Climate Change.
In support of technical capacity building, measures to enhance institutional support services are required to improve coordinated and integrated DRR actions and adaptation to climate change at local level for saving lives and better safeguarding of peoples’ livelihoods. To this purpose, the project focused on the improvement of provincial, district and community level seed production, storage and maintenance processes, as well as on making available usable early warning products including weather/climate forecast products for agricultural applications. Well-coordinated actions need to address existing vulnerabilities and risks in agriculture, therefore location specific data on disaster impacts and spatial information on vulnerability and risks provides a basis to understand the Areas of Concern (AOC) to make better-informed decisions in disaster preparedness and response and long term measures relevant to climate change adaptation. The ongoing efforts by UNICEF on VietInfo database need to be strengthened incorporating indicators relevant to the agriculture sector together with other available indicators for the northern mountain region. The spatial information products with details of local vulnerabilities, risks and natural resource endowment was considered as an effective decision making tool not only for risk management planning, but also for opportunity management in order to better plan for high and low input management alternatives, enhancing thus crop yields.
The Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation action converges at local level. To operationalize community level actions, it is essential to introduce and demonstrate through a guided “learning by doing” process at district and community levels, a set of locally adapted, innovative and gender-sensitive technologies for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in agriculture; further enhancing local awareness about disaster preparedness and adaptation to climate change, the resilience of local communities and livelihood assets, on-farm employment and household food security.