On 2 July 2019, the Department of Climate Change (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment) hosted a consultation workshop. Co-funded by CARE via the Climate Change Working Group, or CCWG, and several other organisations, the event gathered meaningful comments from participants who are scientists or representatives of provincial authorities, international and national non-governmental organisations, and relevant ministries. It is expected the draft will consider and include such feedback before being submitted to the government for approval by the end of this year.

At the event, representatives of the Department of Climate Change presented an overview of the draft, including its context, principles of drafting, vision and key areas of priorities. The main part, tasks and solutions, are classified into seven areas:

  • Agriculture and rural development
  • Natural resources and environment
  • Public health
  • Construction-urban development-housing
  • Traffic and transportation
  • Tourism-retreat
  • Industry

In the second part of the event, participants sought to clarify and feedback to the draft. Comments are largely in two directions: the process of developing the NAP and specific contents in the draft. The chairpersons of the discussion section were Mr. Nguyen Tuan Quang, Vice Director of the Department of Climate Change, and Ms. Huynh Thi Lan Huong Assoc. Prof-PhD., Vice Director General of Vietnam Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate change.

“The national adaptation plan (NAP) process was established under the Cancun Adaptation Framework (CAF). It enables Parties to formulate and implement national adaptation plans (NAPs) as a means of identifying medium- and long-term adaptation needs and developing and implementing strategies and programmes to address those needs. It is a continuous, progressive and iterative process which follows a country-driven, gender-sensitive, participatory and fully transparent approach.” Source: UNFCCC

In Vietnam, NAP is to implement a large part in its Nationally Determined Contributions.
According to Mr.  Nguyen Tuan Quang, while the national strategy on climate change provides the overall directions, the NAP will concretise them into specific solutions for each relevant sector and ministry.

On the process

Many people stressed the importance of clarifying the two overall objectives of the NAP, is to reduce vulnerabilities from climate change impacts via increasing adaptation capacity and resilience; and to effectively integrate climate change into other strategies and plans.

Some participants highlighted the need to rearrange the sequence of issues and areas presented in the draft so that they are more logical and their links with each other more visible. Some recommended to include opportunities from climate change instead of only focusing on losses and damages. Participants also suggested the NAP process make it possible for relevant sectors and provinces to add the priorities they see as missing from the draft. They also emphasized that the principles that the process should uphold, such as gender equality, poverty reduction, social safeguard, and inclusiveness, are to be reflected throughout the whole text of the draft.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Yen, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Advisor of CARE in Vietnam. Photo: CCWG

Specifically, a participant suggested setting up an insurance market as an opportunity for Vietnam in increasing its resilience and mobilising private funding both domestically and internationally for climate change adaptation. Ms. Nguyen Thi Yen from CARE International in Vietnam mentioned that the Gender Technical Group, whose members include UNWomen, UNDP, and CARE (with CARE representing CCWG), is giving recommendations on gender integration in the Nationally Determined Contributions and that it is willing to do the same for developing and implemented the NAP.

Furthermore, participants proposed to add an approach in building the NAP, which is to mobilise community capabilities and increase community adaptation capacity instead of only focusing on the roles of ministries and other public authorities.

Several participants showed interest in how to develop a NAP that ensures coordination and linkages among all sectors and ministries. From the Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) center, Mr. Vu Cong Lan proposed that the draft include the role of the Ministry of Labour, the Invalid, and Social Affairs because, as a consequence of climate change, Vietnam will face an enormous task of migrating a part of its population domestically, which requires the role of this Ministry. To this point, the chairpersons informed that the draft will have a separate section on organising the implementation, which will clarify which ministries will lead on specific tasks as well as budget allocation. In addition, the role of non-governmental organisations and the private sector will also be part of this section.

On classifying tasks-solutions according to economic sectors, several participants agreed with this approach, saying that it also entails what it means for different geographical areas. However, more people were of the view that it will be more practical to put these tasks and solutions for each region, making the NAP a basis for provinces to develop their own adaptation plans.

On priorities, tasks, and solutions

Participants provided a lot of feedback to specific contents in the draft. Some pointed out that several key issues are missing, such as irrigation or shifting crop structures. Or land management should not just limit to coastal areas but also include the mountainous and high lands.

According to Dr. Nguyen Van Khang, former chairperson of Tien Giang People’s Committee and currently chairing Tien Giang Provincial Union of Science and Technology Associations, water resource, which are mentioned in detail in the draft, is crucial but so is land resource. “…. Adding land resource [to the draft content] is a must. Also, [we] can’t ignore irrigation. This is crucial to the whole country and particularly to the Mekong Delta….,” – said Dr. Khang – “We have talked about the scenario that when the sea level rises by 0.5 meter by 2050, the Mekong Delta will lose most of its arable land. That is why sea dikes are crucial. A single province can not cope with such an issue and it should be included in the NAP.”

To Mr. Pham Van Trong, Director of Tien Giang Department of Natural Resources and Environment, it is important to add two more solutions: communications and the involvement of all parties.

Mr. Pham Van Trong, Director of Tien Giang Department of Natural Resources and Environment. Photo: CCWG

“We only carry out communication activities on certain occasions and not regularly. In my work, I have seen a lack of understanding about climate change in many people and even public employees.

And we need the participation of every one, not just the political system, in adapting with climate change ”

Mr. Pham Van Trong

Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Huy from Oxfam in Vietnam noted that the NAP should provide a longer-term vision so that policy makers can prepare for migration policies to move people out of the Mekong Delta while land elsewhere is also limited. He also recommend that the draft suggest more detailed solutions against climate extremities. “Lasting only one week longer, the drought in the north of the central area would turn into a disaster,” he said.