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Vietnam needs $30bn to cope with climate change in 2015-20: expert

Friday, May 22, 2015, 19:36 GMT+7

Climate change brings about damage worth 2-6 percent of Vietnam’s GDP per year and the country needs roughly US$30 billion to cope with it in the next five years, a Vietnamese official has said. Dr. Pham Hoang Mai, head of the Department of Science, Education, Natural Resources, and Environment under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, released the figures at a ceremony in Hanoi on Thursday. The event was jointly held by the ministry, the World Bank, and the United Nations Development Program to announce the Climate Public Expenditure and Investment Review (CPEIR) for Vietnam.   Over the past decade, climate-related disasters, particularly storms and floods, have cost Vietnam an annual average of $3-9 billion, or 2-6 percent of the country’s GDP, Dr. Mai told the ceremony, citing the figures of the Asian Development Bank. Dr. Mai also said official development assistance given by the international community to projects in Vietnam to deal with climate change and promote green development has increased in recent years, reflecting the importance of the world’s efforts to adapt to climatic changes. About 88 percent of the total budget of VND14.9 trillion ($683.3 million) spent by Vietnam on climate-change response during 2010-13 was intended for direct activities, such as building infrastructure, building dykes to protect coasts, and afforestation, the Vietnam News Agency cited the CPEIR as saying. Nine percent was directed toward science and technology development and three percent toward making policies and management activities related to climate-change response, the report said. The report proposes adding short- and long-term initiatives to further mainstream climate change into Vietnam’s policy, planning and budget cycle, and better identifying priority investments and activities to strengthen the country’s climate change response, according to the World Bank. In particular, the report said immediate actions to boost Vietnam’s climate change response should be part of the next 5-year socio-economic development plan and beyond, the World Bank said. “Mainstreaming climate change into the budget will strengthen Vietnam’s resilience against the impacts of a warming world, make communities less vulnerable, and tackle the emissions challenge as Vietnam continues its journey toward a greener, resilient and prosperous future,” said Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank country director for Vietnam. “The options proposed by the report, if implemented, will help Vietnam achieve this goal by further embedding the climate change agenda into the government’s planning and budgeting systems,” she said. As a result of the economic expansion, Vietnam's greenhouse gas emissions and overall carbon intensity have significantly increased recently, according to experts. Between 1994 and 2010, greenhouse gas emissions in Vietnam rose from 103.8 million tons of carbon dioxide to 246.8 million tons, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment reported. Therefore, the CPEIR helped accelerate the country's transition to a low-carbon economy, Louise Chamberlain, country director for the United Nations Development Program, said. Dr. Mai suggested many solutions for enhancing the efficiency of climate change response, including formulating action plans and priority projects for climate change and green growth strategies; developing market-based mechanisms to generate financing for green growth; improving existing capacity; and consolidating the set-up and strengthening of fiduciary procedures for resource mobilization. He also suggested putting together climate finance task forces and options, and formulating adaptation prioritization frameworks and green investment guidelines for public investment.

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