H.E Mr. Trinh Dinh Dung, Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam
Mr. Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Chairman of Central Committee for Natural Prevention and Control and Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development
Mr. Kamal Malhotra, United Nations Resident Coordinator/Vietnam and UNDP Resident Representative
Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, my congratulations to the people of Vietnam and its leaders on the occasion of International Day for Disaster Reduction. I am honored to take part in this important conference on Integrated Disaster Risk Management and Agricultural Resilience to Climate Hazards in Vietnam. I am happy to note that it is being organized jointly by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the World Bank. On behalf of the World Bank, I extend a warm welcome to you all.
Our objective today is to promote a policy dialogue on integrated disaster risk management by bringing together policy makers, experts, beneficiaries and other stakeholders, both national and international, and from various related areas including agriculture, water resources management, finance, social protection, and others. The discussion will focus on the challenges the country has been facing in light of climate risks, particularly floods and drought and saltwater intrusion; as well as the needs and priorities to address these challenges.
Vietnam is one of the most hazard-prone countries in the East Asia and Pacific region, with droughts, severe storms, and flooding causing substantial economic and human losses. In fact, it is ranked the seventh most disaster-prone country in the world. Over the past two decades, disasters in Vietnam have caused more than 13,000 deaths as well as property damage in excess of US$6.4 billion. In recent years, the impacts of drought in the Mekong Delta and the Central Highlands regions in 2015-2016, and floods in Central Vietnam in 2016 have been distressing.
Unfortunately, the risks from disaster are expected to increase. Like many other countries, Vietnam is facing high disaster risk and vulnerability due to unplanned urban development, inappropriate land use, and ecosystem degradation. Moreover, climate change is projected to increase the impact of disasters, especially the timing, frequency, severity, and intensity of hydro-meteorological events. Currently only about 5% of assets in the country are covered by insurance, leaving open the question of whether the affected population and the government are always able to bear the remaining burden without severe distress. A recent report shows that Vietnam could see losses of over 4% of GDP in the case of a major disaster. In the next 50 years, Vietnam has a 40% chance of experiencing an event with economic losses exceeding VND141 trillion (USD 6.7 billion).
It is now the time to address these challenges and start serious preparations to reduce the country’s climatic vulnerability. If Vietnam does not invest in disaster resilience today, it misses an opportunity for social, economic and environmental progress that will have impacts for years to come. I like to acknowledge the tremendous efforts that Vietnam has made in recent years to address these challenges. In particular, the Government has made considerable efforts to respond to climate disaster risks. It has developed and implemented policies and set up legal frameworks for disaster risk management, such as the National Strategy for Natural Disaster Prevention, Response and Mitigation; the recent Law on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control; and the newly established Vietnam Disaster Management Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. These regulations need to be fully implemented. The new Authority made fully functional. And the efforts, especially in the areas of institutional setting for disaster risk management and disaster risk financing capacity, from the government as well as all other stakeholders need to continue and strengthen.
This conference brings together various stakeholders for detailed discussions on these issues related to integrated disaster management and to suggest required policies and institutional arrangements; programs and capacity building activities; and credit, insurance and other financing mechanism to build a more resilient future for Vietnam.
Let me close by underlining the commitment of the World Bank help Vietnam sustain its remarkable socio-economic success in the face of increasing climate risks. To highlight this commitment, let me also announce here the launching the World Bank Technical Assistance for Agri-food Resilience to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in East Asia, an activity generously supported by Multi Donor Trust Fund for Food Price Crisis Response. With this, the World Bank is strengthening its objective to support Vietnam and other partner countries in preparing for climate challenges, support sustainable development and shared prosperity.
Once again, thank you very much for your presence and leadership HE Mr. Trinh Dinh Dung, Deputy Prime Minister, and a very warm welcome to all, specifically to representatives from the Central Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, academic and research institutions, provincial governments, NGOs, private enterprises, development partners and the media. I thank everyone of you for your participation in today’s discussions and look forward to continued cooperation among all the stakeholders and across sectors in building a climate resilient and prosperous future for Vietnam.