Partnership for Equitable Resilience to the Impacts of Climate Change

The Red River and Mekong deltas in the north and south of Vietnam are highly vulnerable to climate change. People in these areas are witnessing more extreme rainfall, more frequent typhoons and storm surges, and saltwater intrusion where saltwater mixes with freshwater. Livelihoods such as farming and fishing are being affected by this, and as a result local communities have less income and face food insecurity. Poor households, women-headed households and those who own very little or no land are the most vulnerable, as they have the least access to resources and the fewest opportunities to participate in processes to adapt to climate change.

Understanding better how to adapt to climate change

An Oxfam project funded by the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade has successfully helped poor households in the deltas become more resilient to the threats posed by climate change. The project specifically aims to increase the resilience of 51,000 vulnerable people, with a particular focus on women. Oxfam works in partnership with the Centre for Marine Life Conservation and Community Development (MCD) and provincial governments in five provinces[1].

As a result of the project, community members and local authorities in the five provinces have better understanding of the impacts of climate change and the practical measures they can take to adapt. Local authorities have integrated disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) measures into their local socio-economic development plans and flood and storm control plans. Secondly, Oxfam and MCD have helped households to identify livelihood options not affected by climate change that could increase their income. Finally, local authorities and communities have improved their awareness of DRR, CCA, and natural resource management policies and their implementation.

Improving livelihoods and raising incomes

Oxfam and MCD’s joint efforts have successfully reduced the risks faced by vulnerable households and improved their livelihood options. An independent evaluation concluded that the project has helped more than 52,000 people, half of them women, to better understand climate change risks, the impact of climate change on livelihoods and how to best manage and adapt to these risks.

In addition, more than 3,000 vulnerable households have diversified their livelihoods by, for example, growing a salt tolerant stain of rice and raising pigs and goats. As a result, after one year the average income across households rose dramatically, almost quadrupling in the Red River Delta.

A comprehensive participatory approach

There has also been increased awareness among local authorities of effective measures on CCA, DRR, and the relevant legal frameworks. At the commune level, all local leaders report that they have used project learning on DRR and CCA in the development of their socio-economic development and flood and storm control plans.

Oxfam and MCD have promoted participatory approaches and made sure to always include vulnerable households in discussions and activities. More than 550 local authority staff were trained in participatory planning methods and how to integrate disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation(CCA) into local planning and decisions, such as socio-economic development plans, while ensuring that the voice and needs of women and vulnerable people are taken into account.

Women were represented and included in all project activities. Poor women were provided with leadership training and skill-building opportunities and were the major beneficiaries of livelihood support. As a result, the number of women participating in local planning processes to develop socio-economic development plans increased by 28 percent. The evaluation also noted a number of positive changes in gender roles between men and women in the target communities, with men taking on household chores so that women could attend training and meetings outside of the home.

The lessons learnt from this project, along with experience and knowledge from an ongoing Oxfam project to build resilience to disaster and climate risks in Ben Tre province, are being used as evidence-based input for national policy discussions and recommendations on the socio-economic development planning process.

Details

Project: Partnership for equitable resilience to the impacts of climate change of coastal communities in the deltas of Vietnam

Location: Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, Hai Phong, Tien Giang and Tra Vinh provinces

Time frame: 2012-2015. Learning from this project contributes to the design of a new project

Funding: Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

 

[1] The five provinces are Thai Binh, Nam Dinh and Hai Phong in the Red River Delta and Tien Giang and Tra Vinh in the Mekong Delta.