Vietnam has been ranked among the most dynamic emerging economies around the globe for the past decade , thanks partly to the support of infrastructure establishment. Yet, at the same time, the country suffers from extreme impacts of climate change, notably in terms of property and infrastructural damage. Meanwhile, there is a lack of systematic approaches that require infrastructure investments to consider climate risks in their planning, design, and operation stages. As a result, it creates a budgetary burden related to regular maintenance costs, or costs incurred whenever the infrastructure collapses following unpredictable climate events.
Taking all these aspects into account, it is reasonable to place more emphasis on climate risk assessments and on the application of climate proofing measures right from the investment planning process.
This paradigm shift is crucial and calls for further consolidation via four pillars of capacity enhancement, namely individual, organizational, network, and legislative capacities (loosely based on the capacity WORKS model). This approach also largely resonates with the scope of the IKI project Enhancing Climate Services for Infrastructure Investment during the 2017 – 2023 period.
Capacity building for climate risk assessment normally manifests under four pillars as follows.
The first prong is individual capacity. It represents one’s technical competence to develop climate services from raw data, to evaluate risks, or to design a sustainable investment plan. Within the climate risk context, CSI chooses the PIEVC Protocol as the guiding orientation. It enables users to quantify and categorize risks in relation to budget constraints in a systematic manner, from which optimal adaptation strategies are built.
Organizational capacity outlines the functions or missions of one organization to help bring climate risk assessment into existing procedures. That is, an organization seeks to exchange knowledge, promote awareness of climate risk assessment, and further evaluate its potential to be integrated into current regulations. As a case in point, during the partnership with Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration (VNMHA), CSI and VNMHA reach a consensus on the increasing need to develop and use climate services in current national contexts. This government body even goes so far as to establish a new internal department solely responsible for climate services. In response, the project CSI has offered VNMHA the digitalized historical dataset of Vietnamese climate throughout the past 32 years, setting the fundamental yet solid stage for future expansion of climate services.
Network capacity is another prong to be addressed. Climate risk assessment cannot be discussed nor used in a vacuum. Thus, network capacity serves as the channel to disseminate current, modified and new knowledge, to connect climate service providers with users, and to learn from existing experiences based on free consultation. In fact, CSI has successfully built a platform called International Practitioners Network, where any relevant stakeholder could join to learn from one another about climate risks and vulnerability assessments regardless of their technical background. As of now, the platform has garnered many frequent users from Costa Rica, Nigeria, Uganda, and Vietnam. These users will soon be convened in an in-person international conference in Canada in April 2023.
Last but not least, capacity enhancement needs to be leveraged on a legislative scale to obtain maximum effect. In other words, CSI aims to facilitate the introduction of climate risk assessment into existing policy/legal frameworks. As of 2017, CSI provided direct support for the modification of some government decrees and circulars. For instance, a suggestion to consider climate change effects in the process of strategic environmental assessment was approved and rewritten on the Vietnamese Environmental Protection Law. Or on a smaller scale, CSI plays a pivotal part in building provincial socio-economic development plans, i.e Kien Giang, An Giang and Ca Mau’s. This is achieved by successfully convincing investors and project managers to factor in climate risks in the planning stage and potential impacts one infrastructure might have on its surrounding ecosystems (i.e risk level and greenhouse emissions). More importantly, CSI also partners up with other government and academic institutions to design a visualized decision support tool, packed with science-based information on the geographics, geology and hydrology along the vulnerable Mekong Delta’s coastline. This tool might not necessarily replace official planning documents yet provides comprehensive concept and viable solutions to draft future provincial/ regional plans.
Capacity building is a long and bumpy path. Even if one actor manages to fit all four pillars inside a particular setting, there is no guarantee that new changes will persist in the long run. Therefore, lengthening the flow of information and knowledge is more than just necessary. This could mean organizing ToT (training of trainers) workshops on a national level, as did CSI in June 2019 and February 2023, where climate experts delivered their hands-on experience of risk assessment to key decision-makers.
Another way CSI tries to circulate their knowledge is through their published handbooks, which we highly recommend for academic institutions. You can download the complete document package in this link.
If you have any inquiries or wish to benefit from these tools, please visit the CSI project via their following websites.
(Dr.) Nguyen Thi Minh Ngoc, Senior Technical Advisor, GIZ Vietnam
Global Project “Enhancing Climate Services for Infrastructure Investments” (CSI)
For further information please visit:
» CSI Website