HA NOI— Viet Nam would stand together with the world in fighting climate change, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh pledged at the United Nations Climate Change Summit on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, international efforts have not brought about expected results,” he said. “People’s lives, property and livelihoods will be seriously affected, not only in poor and vulnerable countries but also in rich ones.”
Minh pointed out that if sea levels rose by just one metre, 40 percent of the Mekong Delta –the biggest rice production area in Viet Nam–would be inundated.
“We need to show our political will and agreement to make our commitments stronger, inheriting the results of international climate change negotiations in order to establish a new global legally binding framework to achieve the goal of limiting the world to a less than two degree Celsius rise in global temperature,” Minh said.
He called on developed countries to increase commitments and actions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, in addition to providing finance and technology for developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Finances especially would play a crucial role, he said.
Viet Nam aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8-10 percent compared to 2010 and cut energy consumption by 1-1.5 percent per year.
In related news,Viet Nam will relocate about 91,000 households from flooded areas in the Mekong River Delta by 2015, a meeting in the capital was told yesterday.
The meeting, organised by the UN Development Programme and Viet Nam’s Ministry of Agriculture, concluded that more effort was needed to protect migrants from climate-change and reduce the poverty plaguing resettled households.
It examined the causes of household instability felt after relocation and resettlement, an activity that has become far more common as the weather deteriorates.
Many have voluntarily migrated away from disaster-prone areas, but the Government also has to relocate many families. Homes in northern mountainous regions are at risk of flash floods, mudflows and landslides, while those in the Red River Delta suffer from riverbank and coastal erosion.
Bakhodir Burkhanov, deputy country director of UNDP Viet Nam, said that migration and resettlement are seen as vital coping and adaptation strategies.
“In Viet Nam and elsewhere, climate-related migration is happening today,” he said.
Experts argue that countries relocating populations were often left without the support needed to rebuild social support networks and economic livelihoods.
Nguyen Van Hai, a representative from the Department of Cooperatives and Rural Development under the agriculture ministry, said many localities were slow in relocating residents out of disaster-prone areas. However, lack of land and facilities to meet basic needs in resettlement areas posed challenges.
Hai said lack of funding was a huge problem for poorer provinces. On average, each province received somewhere from VND4-6 billion (US$188,700- $377,400) in 2014 from the central and provincial budget to resettle residents out of disaster-prone areas, not much for areas with less infrastructure.
According to UNDP analysis, many of the resettlement programs in Viet Nam lack planning, transparency, financial accountability and community participation.
It called on Viet Nam to enhance the effectiveness of resettlement initiatives as well as increase climate-change resilience of Viet Nam’s communities.