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Local planning for climate adaptation: Vietnam’s experience

The Vietnamese government is aware of the country’s vulnerability to climate change impacts. In their attempt to build resilience, climate action plans (CAPs) were introduced as long-term plans for sectors and provinces. 63 provinces in Vietnam completed their CAPs between 2010 and 2013.
The objective of this study was to compare the local government experience with CAPs in this initial phase, to provide suggestions to the government for how these can be improved when they are updated in 2014–2016. The team identified international good practices, which were generalised from a review of manuals and local government adaptation plans in other countries. 21 criteria were developed to compare these good practices with those used in Vietnam’s case. In addition, a list of 24 good practices was developed and evidence was sought from surveys and interviews to confirm whether or not each was used.
The results show that climate projections and climate impacts were handled reasonably well in most cases, and that recommendations were usually clearly assigned to responsible technical agencies. The greatest weakness of the first round of CAPs was that their recommendations could not be implemented, due to a lack of coordination with regular planning and budgeting mechanisms in the responsible technical agencies, and a lack of special funding outside of regular public expenditure planning. Other weaknesses included weak treatment of climate variability and uncertainties in some cases, limited engagement of vulnerable groups, and limited application of risk assessment. It should be noted that evidence could be found for most of the international good practices in one or more Vietnamese provinces, so while good practices were used in some cases, consistency was low. The findings help to draw practical recommendations for government to improve the next updating round of CAPs in 2015–2020.

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The Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) is an eight-year, multi-country initiative working with cities across the world to increase resilience to climate change. IIED is a regional partner within ACCCRN.

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