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Scoping Assessment on Climate Change Adaptation in Viet Nam – Summary

This scoping study of climate change in Viet Nam draws on work irelated to the Adaptation Knowledge Platform to disseminate and exchange adaptation knowledge with a wider audience. Multiple institutions, organizations, and individuals that have provided key inputs and to report the state of climate change adaptation in Viet Nam.
City challenges in Viet Nam. Photo by Thijs Degenkamp on Unsplash
City challenges in Viet Nam. Photo by Thijs Degenkamp on Unsplash


With the Fourth Assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 20071, it has become clear that: (i) climate change is this century’s main threat to sustainable development; and (ii) it is caused by humans. International summits are now dominated by climate change, in particular in the run up to the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen in December 2009. Bank Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, described climate change as ‘the greatest collective challenge we face collective challenge we face as a human family’. He also said that in Copenhagen, “we have a change to put in place a climate change agreement that all nations can embrace, which will be equitable, balanced, comprehensible’2.

Scientific data indicate that Viet Nam is ‘particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change’, as defined in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Predictions for Viet Nam’s regions according to global scenarios of future greenhouse gas emissions, as used by the IPCC, show major effects on the country from climate change including increased climatic extremes as well as less spectacular, but gradually growing climatic stresses on resources and communities. Increases in average temperatures and average changes in rainfall from climate models do not fully illustrate the extent of ‘dangerous climate change’, which means that climatic events become more extreme. Importantly, because ‘avoiding dangerous climate change’ is possible but not certain, there is a need to invoke the ‘precautionary principle’: since climate change effects may be very extreme, even if the scientific data cannot provide certainty anticipatory action must be taken.

Climate change is primarily caused by the emission of greenhouse gases. However, International negotiations at Bali in December 2007 failed to achieve consensus on target from climate change mitigation. It is predicted that the severity and frequency of climate change induced disasters will increase. But till now there is no consensus regarding the reduction of greenhouse gases. Further, scientists also estimated that even if emission of all greenhouse gases stopped today (mitigation approach) some degree of climate change would still occur and developing countries would have great sufferings. Therefore, developing countries have no alternative rather putting emphasis to adaptation to climate change. Adaptation to climate change and it induced impacts must demand for building a climate disaster resilient community. In this respect often it is suggested to develop the adaptive capacity and to build a resilient community that would be efficiently capable to face climate change and associated climatic risks.

Respond to the global and regional urgency of climate change impacts, the Regional Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Platform for Asia (or Adaptation Platform) seeks to facilitate climate change adaptation at local, national and regional levels and to strengthen adaptive capacity of countries in South and South East Asian countries, while bridging existing and emerging networks and knowledge.

The Adaptation Platform is intended to support countries in the Asia region to strengthen their capabilities to introduce effective adaptation measures. This includes both at the national level, in terms of creating an enabling policy, regulatory, planning and budgeting environment for the adoption of adaptation measures, and at a sub-national and local level where most adaptation activities will actually be implemented. The overall platform goal is to facilitate climate change adaptation in Asia at local, national and regional levels and strengthen adaptive capacity. This paper is the first step towards the establishment of the Adaptation Platform. The paper aims to identify and assess the existing policies, institutional mechanisms and mandates and specific programs for adaptation, national development and key sectors, and the existing state of knowledge and existing initiatives related to adaptation and obvious sectors such as disaster management in Viet Nam.

This weADAPT article is an abridged version of the original text, which can be downloaded from the right-hand column. Please access the original text for more detail, research purposes, full references, or to quote text.


1 IPCC (2007) Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA/
2 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon- to the World Federation of UN Associates, 10 August 2009


Sinh, B, T., et al., 2010. Scoping Assessment on Climate Change Adaptation in Viet Nam. Regional Climate Change Adaptation Platform for Asia. Bangkok.

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