Climate Services for the Coastal Protection Infrastructure Sector in Vietnam: Baseline Assessment Report

Submitted by Climate Risk Institute | published 4th Aug 2022 | last updated 14th Nov 2022
Enhancing Climate Services for Infrastructure Investments
Climate Services for the Coastal Protection Infrastructure Sector in Vietnam

Summary

This resource was submitted by the Climate Risk Institute for use by the CanAdapt Climate Change Adaptation Community of Practice.

This article is an abridged version of the original text, which can be downloaded from the right-hand column. Please access the original text for more detail, research purposes, full references, or to quote text.

The Vietnamese Mekong Delta is one of the most vulnerable regions in Vietnam and among the most vulnerable river deltas in world with distinct differences compared to the rest of the country. Intensive land use from continuous extension of the delta’s canal system during French colonial times to an over utilization of the soil and groundwater resources until today’s construction of upstream river dams and hydropower stations are the human interventions and contributions that do not only increase the value of the land but also make it more vulnerable. In order to protect and guarantee the socio-economic services in the future and minimize costs for maintenance and amendments measures, climate proof infrastructure systems are required. Climate risk management processes require the availability of adequate climate information which can be incorporated into development decisions and policy at relevant scale. 

The CSI project (Enhancing Climate Services for Infrastructure investments) aims to empower decision-makers of the coastal protection sector in Vietnam to make greater use of Climate Services when planning infrastructure investments and adapt engineering designs in order to raise the resilience of infrastructure objects and systems in the context of climate change. 

In order to enhance the provision and use of climate information the current state of a National Climate Service for the context of the coastal protection sector needs to be assessed and analysed. The baseline assessment is based on the concept and structure of the Global Framework of Climate Services. The assessment report provides an overview of the Climate Service inventory which encompasses currently available Climate Service capacities and specific products. It furthermore reflects the current use and demands of Climate Services from the coastal protection sector. And finally analyses the sector-specific climate-value-chain which comprises the interaction of relevant stakeholders for climate information provision and key actors of the coastal protection sector. 

The assessment results are based on question catalogues which address climate information providers and users. The information was collected via surveys, workshops and interviews. Interview partners are representatives of the National HydroMeteorological Service (NMHS), the Southern Regional Hydro-Meteorological Centre (SRHMC), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the Southern Institute for Water Resources Research (SIWRR), the Southern Institute for Water Resource Planning (SIWRP), the Kien Giang Department for Planning and Investments (KG-DPI), the Kien Giang Water Resources Sub-department ), DARD and the Thuy Loi University (TLU). 

The results from the Climate Service inventory indicate that NMHS together with IMHEN adopts a central position as major stakeholder within the national network of climate information providers. Fundamental results can be summarized by the following statements: 

  • The observation and monitoring network of Vietnam is completely operated and managed by NMHS and is subject of comprehensive optimization programs.
  • NMHS research concentrates on the enhancement of tools and knowledge to support everyday tasks and processes. Research related to climate change and the development of sector-specific climate services is done by IMHEN and national universities. •
  • The Vietnamese Climate Service product portfolio and the disseminationstructure focuses on the provision of forecasts and warning of climate related hazards and is mainly aligned for the needs of the disaster risk and agriculture sectors. The provision of data and analyses products are yet of minor importance.
  • A user interface is yet very basic and limited to single events. Activities regarding user interaction are basically limited to a mostly one-way communication of especially forecasts and warnings to mainly political stakeholders from the disaster risk and agricultural sector.
  • Capacity development programs are yet very dependent on externally funded programs often provided by international organizations. The NMHS long-term strategy envisages a commercialization of the service and respectively aligns development activities and programs. General characterizations of use and demand for Climate Services can be summarized by the following statements:
  • The consideration of climate and climate change for coastal protection issues is tackled by a high number of laws and regulations. However, there is little information about the regulation of the use of specific climate information and data.
  • The motivation to use climate data and information for decision-making is dominated by the obligation to consider laws and regulations.
  • Climate information is predominantly used for decision-makings processes which refer to infrastructure planning and implementation as well as the development and implementation of risk management plans. Most favourable risk management strategies are risk prevention by protection and by transformation as well as awareness creation.
  • The entire product portfolio of climate information products is provided as well as used by stakeholders from the coastal protection infrastructure sector. Greatest needs regarding climate information provision refers to a lower extend to the prevision of additional products but rather to the dissemination process, access and availability of data and information as well as quality and tailoring of data and information.
  • The most important reason for not using climate information is the limited access to freely available climate information, the fact that products are not available when required or the information content is not understandable as well as the costbenefit value of the use of climate information is not profitable and missing capacities to deal with climate information. 

The results from analysis of the climate value chain can be summarized by the following statements: 

  • Main sources of climate-related information for users from the coastal protection sector are the NMHS and IMHEN for general climate data and SIWRR and SIWRP for sector-specific information.
  • MARD/DARD takes a central position within the climate-value chain of the coastal protection sector, regarding several concerns: the coordination of sectoral tasks and processes, the final decision-making on sector-specific climate information as well as the regulation of climate information within the sectoral context.
  • SIWRR and SIWRP adopt key-functions as climate service intermediates which imply the provision of value-added climate information products for the final decisionmakers.
  • The climate-value chain of the coastal protection sector in Vietnam is very compact with a well-defined pool of stakeholders with pronounced competencies regarding the development and production of sectoral Climate Services referring to all issues of the infrastructure planning process. However, this value-chain can only be activated for the context of specific projects on the initiative of central planning authorities like MARD. Direct relationships between climate information providers and sectoral stakeholders which are essential for the development of sector-specific Climate Services are no provided in terms of MoUs or other agreements which favour the development and production of such services by institutionalized, non-bureaucratic channels for interaction and data-exchange.
  •  The fundamental recommendation regarding the baseline assessment refers to the establishment of a sectoral branch within the prevalent National Climate Service of Vietnam specifically for the coastal protection sector. This sectoral branch envisages an incorporation of sectoral and political partners which adopt various functions in the development, provision and communication of Climate Service products relevant for the coastal protection sector. Other recommendations mainly refer to details of the implementation of such a sectoral NCS-branch.

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