Vietnam is one of the country’s predicted to suffer most from the impacts of climate change. Aware of these risks, the government is doing what it can to fulfill and implement its climate committments or Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement. We have been speaking with Mr. Tran Thuc, Vice Chair of the Vietnam Panel on Climate Change, Advisory Counsel for Government on climate change, to hear more about the NDC implementation taking place.

Could you briefly describe how Vietnam is affected by climate change?

We did a study on climate change years ago which found evidence on an increase of temperature, sea level rise, as well as an increase in intensity and frequency of hazards. As a country with an expansive coast line – more than 3,000 km long - we can see the big impact of climate change. In the Mekong Delta, which is very low-lying, we can see the impact of a sea level rise of just a few centimeters.

Could you tell us about Viet Nam’s key focal areas in the climate committment and the status of implementation?

In the NDC, we included both mitigation and adaptation. For mitigation, we focused on four sectors - agriculture, LULUCF [land use, land-use change, and forestry], energy and waste. But now, we are in the process of reviewing and upgrading the NDC.

In addition to the sections on mitigation and adaptation, we are adding another chapter on synergies and co-benefits, to link mitigation and adaptation with sustainable development. We are also looking closer into loss and damage and disaster risk management. (Disaster Risk Reduction is part of the adaptation section.) For mitigation options, we are including the industrial sector, so we will have five mitigation sectors in the updated NDC.

Why did Viet Nam choose to integrate a section on sustainable development?

We consider development as very important for the country. But in order to achieve that, we have to do adaptation to deal with the impacts of climate change. In addition, we have to work on mitigation to address climate change. Adaptation action can contribute to mitigation action and vice versa. The three pillars – mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development - should go together. But the final goal for us is socio-economic development.

Could you elaborate on your focus on urban areas for climate and development action?

One of the big topics in the adaptation sectors is cities because a lot of people live in cities, especially the low-income people who feel climate change impacts the most. Recently we found that rain fall intensity increase caused a lot of urban flooding and the impact on people, especially on the poor, the old, the women, and the children was strong. Not for the rich – they have the capacity to deal with the flooding. So, adaptation for cities is one of the important areas on which the government focuses.

Did Vietnam consider the integration of gender in the climate committments?

After we ratified the NDC, we developed a plan to implement the Paris Agreement in Vietnam. This means, besides our commitments in the NDC, we also reviewed other parts mentioned in the Paris Agreement. Through this review, we identified 68 actions of which gender equality is also a focus, especially for the people in the mountainous areas, and the poor people in the cities, where the low-income people live – so the problem of inequity has to be considered.

What is Viet Nam’s strategy on stakeholder engagement, especially from the private sector?

We have involved stakeholders from line ministries, in order to get the support from each ministry, and so we all talk the same language. The government has a policy to engage the private sector in climate change action. However, up until now the engagement has still been limited and we have to work harder. Recently, the government developed a policy for a feed-in tariff for wind power and only a few weeks ago, increased the feed-in tariff for solar power. So, with that, the involvement of the business sector will be very active in the near future.
We are also at the very initial steps of working on a proposal for the government to establish a domestic carbon market. But not for this year, it will take some time.

What are the next steps for Viet Nam on NDC implementation?

We plan to submit the updated NDC to the UNFCCC sometime next year (2019), maybe in September. After that, we will focus on implementation. One challenge is finance. For adaptation, for example, our country can only cover 1/3 of the cost. For mitigation, we have an unconditional target where our country will carry it - and a conditional one which relies on the support from the international community. But at the moment, we cannot find any support, whether from international nor bi-lateral sources.



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