Adapting agriculture to climate change

15:26 | 07/05/2016 Society

(VEN) - The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in association with the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), recently organized a workshop to kick off a global project on supporting developing countries to integrate the agricultural sectors into national adaptation plans in Vietnam.

Adapting agriculture to climate change

Vietnam has suffered heavy damage due to climate change and natural disasters

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh said Vietnam was one of the countries that had suffered heavy damage due to climate change and natural disasters. Statistics show that over the last three decades, about 500 people have died or went missing due to natural disasters annually, leading to losses amounting to about 1.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). These losses are predicted to rise to three to five percent of GDP in the time to come.

Agriculture plays a very important role in ensuring food security, political stability, and livelihoods for rural residents who account for over 67.7 percent of Vietnam’s population, contributing to eradicating hunger and reducing poverty. However, it is also the most vulnerable sector that suffers the heaviest impact of natural disasters and climate change. It is forecast that climate change and rising sea levels may affect 32.2 percent of agricultural land and Vietnam may face the risk of losing 7.2 million tonnes of rice by the end of this century.

FAO Chief Representative in Vietnam JongHa Bae said FAO had praised the cooperation with the UNDP and the strong support from the German government, which would help the Vietnamese government assess the risks posed by climate change and opportunities when drafting national action plans and state budget estimates as they would affect the agricultural sector.

In Vietnam, FAO and UNDP will help local agricultural communities work out and implement suitable adaptation strategies. This support program will focus on finding policy gaps and opportunities to assess the adaptability of agriculture-based livelihoods in the process of compiling action plans and budget estimates for each sector. It is aimed at designing better risk forecast systems, including insurance and risk sharing mechanisms, which can help keeping track of inevitable damage and losses. Provisions for losses and damage will allow vulnerable communities to access external support for reconstruction and recovery.

According to Deputy Minister Doanh, in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the National Adaption Plans or NAPs are drawn up based on the integration of climate change risk management into medium and long-term socioeconomic development plans in each country. “We wish to continue receiving the support of international organizations, especially in the field of climate change adaptation and natural disaster risk management, to develop a low-carbon green agriculture, ensure food security, and improve lives for rural people,” he said.

UNDP Country Director for Vietnam Louise Chamberlain believed the project would help Vietnam promote sustainable development.

Targeting eight countries: Kenya, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, Uganda, Uruguay, Vietnam, and Zambia, the project will use nonrefundable aid totaling more than US$12.39 million, with funding for Vietnam accounting for US$700,000. In Vietnam, the project will be implemented within four years following its approval on March 1, 2016, under the management of the MARD’s International Cooperation Department. 


Hanh Nguyen