Last update 3/6/2011 5:00:00 AM (GMT+7)

Vietnam ranks climate change as high priority

VietNamNet Bridge - Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai told a workshop in Hanoi on March 4 that the annual budget for climate change had reached trillions of Vietnamese dong (hundreds of millions of USD).

“Vietnam has been working hard to materialise international commitments to reducing natural calamities and adjusting climate change,” said the deputy PM.

The event, officially themed as the “Second national forum on natural calamities reduction and climate change adjustment”, was co-sponsored by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

It targeted agencies at all levels to join hands in research and dialogue as well as to share information and human and financial resources in reducing natural disasters and the impacts of climate change.

The forum also launched a campaign to respond to UNISDR’s global programme, “Disaster Resilient Cities” and encourage several cities in Vietnam to join the programme.

Vietnam, situated in one of five areas most prone to storms in the Asia-Pacific, has suffered losses by natural disasters equal to 1.5 per cent of GDP during the past decade.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said climate change has caused a greater number of natural calamities which have become increasingly complex and unpredictable.

Agricultural production and rural areas are the worst hit by natural disasters, he noted.

In 2010 alone, natural calamities killed and left missing 362 people, destroyed over 6,000 houses and flooded another 470,000 while damaging more than 300,000 ha of agricultural land.

Material damages caused by natural disasters were estimated at VND16 trillion (roughly $768 million) last year.

UNDP representative Setsuko Yamazaki urged Vietnam to take the initiative by investing in protective measures for climate change and natural disaster control as an integral part of the national development strategy.

It is a necessary move, as natural calamities would negate Vietnam ’s achievements in development and growth, as well as its fruits in achieving the Millennium Goals, said the representative from the UN development agency.

She also called on the Vietnamese Government to promote involvement of the private sector, social organisations and NGOs in poverty reduction, post-disaster recovery and reconstruction as well as in implementing social security.

Australian Ambassador Allaster Cox pledged to further cooperate with Vietnam in natural disaster reduction and climate change adjustment.

Source: VNA