Opening Remarks by Ms. Caitlin Wiesen, Country Director at the Inception Workshop for Project “Improving the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities to climate change related impacts in Viet Nam”

Nov 24, 2017

Excellency Vice Minister Hoang Van Thang, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development;  

Representatives from Ministry of Construction and other line ministries and provinces,

Distinguished Colleagues from development partners, international financial institutions, UN agencies, private sector, mass organisations, NGOs and media agencies;

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is an honour to be with you here at this inception workshop for Viet Nam’s first approved project supported by the Green Climate Fund.  

I am especially proud that this project has been developed through a close and productive partnership between the United Nations Development Programme, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Viet Nam, the Ministry of Construction and the seven coastal provinces of Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Thua Thien Hue, Ca Mau.  The Ministry of Planning and investment, as the National Designated Authority, has provided strong support throughout the formulation process, and while the Green Climate Fund has provided essential grant resources to make this project possible.

The project is particularly relevant and timely, building as it does on the positive momentum coming out of the of the recent UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP 23) and the global movement to make climate change action central to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

But it is also timely in that Viet Nam is increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of extreme weather and climate events which are causing increasing damage to lives and livelihoods and negatively impacting development gains. The Storm #12 (Damrey) hit Viet Nam on 4 November has caused more than 100 fatalities, destroyed more than 3,000 houses and affected more than 4 million people, mainly in coastal areas of Viet Nam. The Storm #12 prompt us to take actions to reduce impacts of climate change. We are also pleased that early action in project implementation is helping to inform the response and recovery from Damrey with storm resilient emergency shelter and housing in three of the severely impacted provinces covered by the project.

This project will help communities who are on the front-line to climate change to protect themselves and become more resilient.  

First, the project adopts a people-centred, integrated approach to resilience building in vulnerable coastal communities. The project is designed to extend access to flood and storm resilient housing, strengthen coastal mangrove forests that can provide a buffer to direct storm impacts, and provide timely and reliable information on climate change risks to support decision-making.  

Second, the project draws on UNDP’s global experience and expertise, but also domestic know-how and experience. Successful pilots and good practice from government and other stakeholders have been built-upon and will be scaled-up and replicated to ensure that resilience building options are appropriate and sustainable. Effective implementation will require drawing on lessons learned and skills from many parts of government, academia, the development community and civil society.

Third, the project promotes a risk-informed development approach. The communities, local decision makers, private sectors and other stakeholders will be able to better access quality climate change risk information to apply in decision making.     

As we move into implementation, we look forward building on and consolidating the collaboration of the strong partnership throughout the formulation of the project, to ensure successful achievement of the project’s ambitious targets.   

Representatives and experts from implementing organisations have spent the last two days working hard to work out the details of the five-year implementation plan for the project, and making sure that project management, social safeguards and monitoring and evaluation systems are in robust and well established in all the target provinces. There has been lively discussion on topics such as how best to engage women actively throughout implementation. And there has been productive discussion about to produce transformative impact which can only come about when government, development partners, the private sector and communities work in an integrated manner.

It is now time to translate the Project Document into action to build resilience of communities. We would like to encourage fast-tracked decision making and action by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Construction, and the Provincial People’s Committees and departments of the seven provinces here today.   

From our side, I give you my full assurance that UNDP is fully committed to the effective implementation of this project, and to improving the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities to climate change related impacts.  Collectively working together we can help manage climate change risk, and increase the resilience of women and men today, but also of future generations in Viet Nam.

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