Climate change studies analyse risks and resilience in urban Vietnam

October 25th, 2013 in Earth / Environment

Three reports published today provide policymakers with concrete proposals to reduce the diverse threats that climate change poses to different communities in urban areas of Vietnam.

The researchers —whose studies were supported through the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) funded by the Rockefeller Foundation—will present their findings on 23 October at a research and policy dialogue in Da Nang, a side event to the Vietnam Urban Forum on 24-25 October.

"Heat stress and extreme weather are a reality in the lives of Vietnam's urban citizens, as highlighted by the vulnerable populations these projects studied," says Diane Archer, a researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development who coordinates ACCCRN research projects. "The studies recommend ways policymakers and others can act to increase people's resilience as temperatures rise and poses more threats to their health, livelihoods and housing."

Heat stress

The first study showed that outdoor workers in Da Nang face increasing health threats from and have few options for adapting. Women and migrants face greater risks, and poverty forces people to risk their health by working despite extreme heat. It recommends:

Storms and rising seas

The second study assessed costs and benefits of restoring mangrove forests around Thi Nai lagoon in Quy Nhon City. Mangroves can protect people and property from storm surges and coastal floods. They also provide other benefits such as increased fish catches, fuel wood and income opportunities from ecotourism. The researchers found that the benefits of restoring mangroves are worth about twice as much as either the cost of reforestation or the benefits that would accrue from using the same area for aquaculture. The study recommends:

Climate-Resilient Housing

The third study identified reasons why low-income communities in Hue and Da Nang lack housing that can withstand climatic disasters. It found that professional agencies rarely construct housing for such communities, which cannot afford the high costs. It noted that none of Central Vietnam's universities has a course related to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Another finding was that mutual support among neighbours and friends was important for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction. The study recommends:

All three studies found that people lacked knowledge about climate risks and ways to adapt. They all recommend efforts to raise public awareness and share information between officials and communities.

"Informed, participatory research is a cornerstone of building urban resilience, so that governments, individual households, and businesses can make more robust decisions and investments in the face of uncertainty," says Dr Phong Tran, Technical Lead, ISET-Vietnam, which is the country coordinator for ACCCRN in Vietnam.

The research projects highlighted above do more than just provide information. For example, the Rockefeller Foundation is now funding a project to specifically address concerns the heat stress study raised. It aims to:

Provided by International Institute for Environment and Development

"Climate change studies analyse risks and resilience in urban Vietnam." October 25th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-10-climate-analyse-resilience-urban-vietnam.html