Partners meet for the first conference on children and climate change in Viet Nam
Ninh Thuan (Viet Nam), 15 December 2016 – 160 officials and experts from the government of Viet Nam, UNICEF and other international partners gathered in Ninh Thuan province on 15 December for the first-ever National Conference on Child-Centered Disaster Risk Reduction. Participants discussed how can communities be better prepared and equipped to protect and respond to the needs of children when future natural disasters strike in Viet Nam.
“The situation of natural disasters has become increasingly complex in Viet Nam. New forms of natural disasters have been observed, taking place in wide scale, causing great lost in human, economy and infrastructure. Since the beginning of this year, it is estimated that 171 people were killed, 30 people are missing, and VND 37,000 billion is lost due to natural disasters. During the current floods in central areas, since 28 November this year, 27 people were killed, including 10 children, and some of them were killed on the way to school”, said Mr. Hoang Van Thang, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Children in Viet Nam are increasingly vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters exacerbate existing multiple vulnerabilities and inequity among children. Slow on-set of disasters – such as drought and salt-water intrusion – have long-term consequences on child well-being including nutrition, health, education, child protection and social protection. The conference marks an important milestone in setting the direction for child-centered disaster risk reduction in Viet Nam within the framework of Law on Disaster Prevention and Control, and Government of Viet Nam’s commitment to global and regional targets on Disaster Management and Emergency Response.
“In hazards-prone areas, children pay a heavy price when these hazards materialize into disasters. UNICEF is actively cooperating with the Government of Viet Nam and other national partners to promote an effective child-centered disaster risk reduction through a child-sensitive DRR assessment, sound preparedness and adaptation plans, uninterrupted access to safe learning and decent services, and protection in situations of distress and stress”, stated Mr. Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam.
He added: “We will draw from the lessons learned from UNICEF’s recent partnership with the Government to respond to the drought and salt water intrusion in ten provinces to inform the preparedness plans and mobilize the national, subnational and community-based partnerships needed to ensure prevention as well as response to climate change and environment-related shocks”
Child-centered disaster risk reduction brings focus on vulnerabilities rather than shocks and stresses and it bridges humanitarian and development work by strengthening resilience of children, families and communities before the crises, including through preparedness, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
At the conference, participants take stock of the progress, results achieved and initial lessons learnt from the on-going emergency response to the drought and saltwater intrusion, share knowledge and experience of national partners on child-entered disaster risk reduction and set direction and framework for partnership on child-centred DRR in Viet Nam. The Conference concluded by agreeing to develop a Strategy and Programme on Child-Centered Disaster Risk Reduction 2017-2021 with 2030 vision. The strategy will look at better coordinating between different sectors and stakeholders to reduce vulnerabilities of children and strengthen the capacity of institutions as well as children, families and communities.
Since August 2016, UNICEF and Government of Viet Nam have been providing critical support to children and women affected by the drought and saltwater intrusion crisis in 10 provinces in Viet Nam’s Central Highlands, South Central Coast and Mekong Delta Region with US$ 2.5 million supported by Government of Japan. To date, it is estimated that UNICEF’s emergency support has reached 140,000 vulnerable people in Viet Nam.
Earthquakes, droughts, wild fires, epidemics, floods - we can't prevent natural hazards but if we are unprepared they can turn into disasters right before our eyes. At UNICEF we are working with children and their families as well as schools, communities and government to ensure children and their families are prepared.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.