The EU and the French Development Agency have signed an agreement with Vietnam to help five of its north-central towns reduce their vulnerability to climate hazards.
The program, called Climate-Resilient Urban Infrastructure in north-central Vietnam (CRUIV), comes in the context of the recent devastation caused by natural disasters in central Vietnam, illustrating the importance of building long-term resilience for localities in the region.
Financed by a grant of five million euros ($6 million) provided by the EU, an ODA loan of 123 million euros from the AFD and 28 million euros from the provinces, CRUIV will be undertaken in Phat Diem in Ninh Binh Province, Ngoc Lac in Thanh Hoa, Hoang Mai in Nghe An, and Huong Khe and Thach Ha in Ha Tinh.
They face a common challenge related to flood risk, according to the project, whose main objective is to increase their and their populations’ resilience against natural disasters and climate change.
Central Vietnam has a history of exposure to weather hazards and the past two months have been particularly critical, with multiple tropical storms and floods following in quick succession.
Climate change could increase extreme weather events in terms of intensity and frequency, and so CRUIV meets an urgent need for climate adaptation and is part of the necessary long-term investments by vulnerable territories to improve their climate resilience, prevent damages and save lives and resources, a statement from the French embassy in Hanoi said.
The project aims in particular at enhancing people’s safety and reducing losses caused by floods through an improvement in flood risk prevention infrastructure such as reinforcing drainage networks and protection dikes, upgrading service roads, especially those allowing effective evacuations and rescue operations in case of floods, and improving wastewater collection and treatment to improve the local environment.
A series of storms that caused torrential downpours in October in the central region and parts of the Central Highlands resulting in severe flooding and landslides, which caused losses worth VND17 trillion ($734.67 million).
The EU’s ambassador to Vietnam, Giorgio Aliberti, said the devastating events in central Vietnam demonstrate that adaptation to climate change is crucial for the sustainability of nation’s development.
"The EU grant will provide technical assistance for building the capacity of the local administration, developing information and risks prevention systems and organizing operation and maintenance. This is fully in line with the EU’s global priorities," he said.
Fabrice Richy, AFD director in Vietnam, said: "This flagship program is perfectly in line with Vietnam’s long-term needs and AFD’s mandate in Vietnam as our operations aim at supporting the implementation of the Paris Agreement, in particular through building the resilience of vulnerable cities and territories."
The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Vietnam is one of six economies most affected by climate change between 1999 and 2018, according to the Global Climate Risk Index published by the German environmental think tank Germanwatch.
The country suffered 226 extreme events in the period with a death toll of 285 and losses of more than $2 billion annually.