Vietnam is one of the countries hardest hit by climate change and natural disasters worldwide: adverse weather conditions caused by these disruptions have killed an average of 500 people a year over the last 30 years. The related economic damage amounts to 1.5% of the country’s GDP.
Indeed, the rise in temperatures and sea levels and the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme climate events (storms, floods, droughts), combined with high population growth and urbanization, exacerbate the risks of coastal erosion, urban flooding and heat islands.
Improving natural resources management
The European Union and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) launched Water and Natural Resources Management – WARM – on 11 May to render risk areas more resilient, particularly on Vietnam’s coasts and in the Mekong Delta. The agreement was signed by Giorgio Aliberti, EU Ambassador to Vietnam, and Fabrice Richy, AFD’s Director in Vietnam.
The WARM facility aims to support the preparation and implementation of more strategic investment projects for water and natural resource management. The experience gained from these projects will feed into the dialogue with the government on the climate, environment and natural resources management.
This facility is financed with a €20 million European Union grant delegated to AFD, which will mobilize those funds in coordination with the Vietnamese authorities. The projects supported will also benefit from AFD loans and Vietnam’s own resources over the period 2021-2029, for a total estimated amount of €200 million.
Responsiveness, visibility: the interest of a program approach
“The WARM Facility responds directly to the needs of Vietnamese partners…by accelerating the assessment and implementation of strategic investment projects for the territories' resilient development,” says Fabrice Richy, AFD’s Director in Vietnam.
“These projects are at the heart of French cooperation in Vietnam,” he added, emphasizing in particular the “adaptation of cities and territories to climate change and natural hazards; improved and integrated water resource management and integrated coastal zone management.” This is said, “is a real added value for all parties.”
Such financing, delegated by the European Union and implemented by AFD, is relatively new: it is the first time that AFD has received delegated funds for this type of approach in Vietnam.
“The program approach allows us to be more responsive by shortening appraisal times for each project. It also gives greater visibility to the joint programming between the Vietnamese Government and the European technical and financial partners (AFD/EU). It highlights all the added value of what Europe has to offer for higher quality projects in short timeframes”, says Fabrice Richy. This gives reason to hope that Vietnam will be better protected against the effects of climate change.