Green Climate Fund announces $29.5mn project to boost Vietnam’s climate resilience

Green Climate Fund is a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change initiative

A neighborhood is seen following land subsidence in Ca Mau Province, located in southern Vietnam.

A United Nations-backed fund dedicated to providing climate-resilient investments for developing countries has announced a project worth nearly US$30 million to improve climate resilience for Vietnam’s coastal communities.

The project, titled “Improving the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities to climate change related impacts in Vietnam,” is the first of its kind to be financed by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in the Southeast Asian country.

The $29.5 million project was announced during a dialogue between GCF executive director Howard Bamsey and Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment in Hanoi on Sunday, the ministry said in a press release on Monday.

Bamsey, who was on his first-ever Vietnam visit, joined local officials in discussing how the Southeast Asian country could take action to achieve climate-resilient development and green growth.

GCF was created in 2010 by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP16) in Cancun, Mexico, and aims to allocate its resources to low-emission and climate-resilient investment in developing countries.

The first-ever CCF-funded project in Vietnam is developed as a partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Construction and authorities of seven coastal provinces.

The north-central province of Thanh Hoa and the southernmost province of Ca Mau are the first two beneficiaries of the project.

The GCF project focuses on supporting vulnerable, highly disaster-exposed communities to protect themselves from the impacts of frequent typhoons and floods, and to improve their livelihoods.

The mangrove buffer zones will be regenerated and replanted, with the poor set to be provided with strong and safer houses having flood- and storm-resistant design features.

Vietnam is considered one of the 30 countries at “extreme risk” from climate change, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

From 1990 to 2012, disasters caused 457 deaths, destroyed more than 96,000 houses, and accumulated losses equivalent to 1.3 percent of GDP annually.

More than 500,000 people live within 200 meters of the coast along the country, their homes are usually affected by typhoons and many of them live in unsafe houses.

This is one of the reasons why the coastal communities are less resilient. The poverty rate in the coastal areas is 23 percent, more than twice the national average, partly due to disaster-related losses.

“The need for investment to support climate change mitigation and low-carbon development is urgent,” Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong said.

“This project will be the first step in the long-term strategic partnership with GCF.

“Vietnam not only wishes to benefit from the fund but it can also contribute to it as well as share lessons learned with other GCF-supported countries.”

Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam, highlighted that UNDP was working with the Vietnamese government on initiatives to build resilience to extreme climate events among the rural poor, many of whom are women or come from ethnic minorities.

He underscored UNDP’s commitment to ensure the effective implementation of this project, thus improving the resilience of coastal communities vulnerable to climate change-related impacts in Vietnam.

To date, the GCF has mobilized $6.7 billion out of $10.3 billion committed. The fund targets to have $100 committed by 2020 to implement the global agreement on climate change.   

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