Vietnam’s exposure to frequent natural disasters is increasing due to climate change (CC). The vulnerability of communities, local infrastructure and government systems is coupled with low provincial and community-level capacities to prepare for, mitigate and respond to disasters. These problems add urgency to the roll-out of the National CBDRM Program under phase 2 (2011-15).
INGOs have been implementing pilot CBDRM projects in Vietnam for over 10 years. In 2009, as a result of advocacy by various DRR actors, the Prime Minister approved Decision 1002 to develop an ambitious National CBDRM programme. This decision opened the way for scaling up CBDRM pilot projects. However, the legal and operational framework is still incomplete and the many approved tools and guidelines to implement the programme have not been disseminated to the provinces or to the districts and communes. There is a lack of technical expertise and budgetary commitment to implement the National program and variation between the Provinces. In the education sector, which is recognised as vital for effective local level DRR because schools and children are at high risk in disasters, there is limited to no awareness about the National Action Plan on DRR and DRR strategies were found to be weak. The government is aware of these problems and accepts that support from DRR actors is needed to implement the National CBDRM program.
The project was focused on several high risk provinces with the following characteristics: Thanh Hoa faces various types of natural hazards, including storms, floods, sea surges, drought, and land-slides. Communities suffer increasing loss in life, property and household assets from disasters. Bac Kan is a mountainous province and ranked as the second poorest in Vietnam in terms of GDP. Major hazards include heavy rain, drought, floods, and landslides. Quang Tri and Quang Binh are vulnerable to typhoons, flash floods, general flooding, and drought, as well as small scale hazards (whirlwinds, landslides, extreme cold). The assessment revealed the impact of recent disasters to be high. Yen Bai, in the Northern mountainous area, faces river flooding, flash floods, landslides and whirlwind. The poverty level of the province in 2010 was 26.5%. Tien Giang, in the lower Mekong river delta, faces river flooding, storms, whirlwinds and salt intrusion.
The following points enumerates the need to conduct CBDRM in the targeted areas:
Provincial Action Plan on National CBDRM program not yet developed in 4 out of 6 targeted provinces: In Thanh Hoa and Quang Tri, the Provincial Standing Office of Centres for Flood and Storm Control (CFSC) has developed a draft Action Plan. In the other 4 provinces, this Action Plan has not been developed yet due to the lack of readiness and resources of the provincial authorities in term of both financial and technical resources . Although provincial stakeholders are aware of this National CBDRM program, there was no clear guidance from the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) to develop the Action Plan.
Lack of technical expertise to implement the National CBDRM program at the provincial level as well as no roll out this program to the district and commune levels: As a guided from DMC, three technical groups at the provincial level should be established: M&E, training and vulnerability and capacity assessment (VCA). The provinces submitted a list of suggested provincial core trainers to DMC who will participate in CBDRM training held by DMC. Consultation in Yen Bai province however highlights that the knowledge of core trainers that already participated in the first round of CBDRM training by DMC on VCA and participatory planning is still limited. In Thanh Hoa and Quang Tri, with the support from the previous DIPECHO funded project, the level of capacity was increased with core trainers now in place. However, provincial and district level stakeholders are not yet equipped with necessary skills and knowledge on M&E on the National CBDRM Program and DRR communication skills.
Funding from the Government of Vietnam and other donors for 6 targeted provinces to implement the National CBDRM program is lacking: Funding for the implementation of the national program is not assured at this stage. According to Decision 1002, around 55% of the budget for this National CBDRM program will be covered by the government and 45% from other sources such as NGOs, donors, and the private sector. However at this stage there was no funding from government. The World Bank 5 project, which is supposed to support the program in 10 provinces, intends to work in its first phase only in Thanh Hoa from 2012 but not in the other 5 target provinces.
Limited DRR integration into sectors and local planning process: DRR work is considered the responsibility of the Committee of Natural Disaster Management located in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), but funding at the provincial level focuses on emergency response rather than risk reduction. The necessary coordination among departments to integrate DRR into the local socio-economic development processes is still weak in the provinces with exception of Quang Tri where the department of planning and investment (DPI) has developed a policy to mainstream DRR into existing socio-economic programs.
Limited DRR knowledge sharing with education sector: Schools are frequently exposed to disasters but have limited preparedness capacities. Teachers and students have limited knowledge of what to do in disaster situations. Consultation meetings with the Department of Education and Training (DOET) showed that the department places high priority on building capacities of core teachers and educational leaders so that they can apply materials and methods developed under previous DIPECHO funding in a wider number of schools in vulnerable areas of the targeted provinces.
Resources and IEC materials for public awareness-raising on DRR have not been prioritized enough at national level: Awareness-raising is an important component of the National CBDRM program but the readiness and prioritization of this component is still lacking. A number of IEC materials were developed and disseminated to communities from different sources but there is no formal agreement on consolidated material to be shared widely to the provincial stakeholders. The Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) at the national level has approved recently the Action Plan on DRR in education sector. The training manual on DRR education developed under JANI 3 is now going through a formal review committee approved by the Vice Minister of MoET. The national MoET and provincial DoET are keen to deliver this training manual in the target provinces to support capacity building of teachers and roll-out of activities at schools.
Activities to ensure provincial and district authorities have systems and structures in place and staff have the knowledge and skills to implement the National CBDRM program included:
- Developing capacity building plan following training needs assessments and capacity assessments
- Supporting the establishment of the CBDRM program technical groups on the CBDRM program in targeted provinces (training groups, VCA groups and M&E groups)
- Organizing training workshops on National CBDRM program implementation (ToT training skills, VCA, participatory preparedness and mitigation planning and M&E)
Activities to ensure communities most vulnerable to disasters have increased knowledge and skills on disaster response, protection, and mitigation, providing foundation for provincial extension included:
- Consolidation and handover of a standard IEC package targeted at different groups in the provinces, districts and communes
- Conducting trainings to develop practices and skills at the commune level on VCA/CVCA, participatory preparedness and mitigation planning and M&E, DRR integration into SEDP and communication on DRR
- Conducting Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (CVCA) and developing CBDRM commune plans
Activities to ensure commune level teachers are able to conduct DRR lessons at primary and lower secondary schools in line with the MoET Action Plan included:
- Orientation, contextualization and training (master ToT for provincial trainers) on DRR education material
- Organizing DRR training for teachers at the participating commune-level schools
- Supporting the development and implementation of child centered safe school plans
Activities to ensure CBDRM best practices are documented and shared in targeted province and brought up to contribute greater impact to the National CBDRM program included:
- Conducting a KAP study and preparing the impact assessment report, measuring the impact of the awareness raising activities
- Supporting the M&E technical groups to develop and implement participatory M&E plans (including most significant change)
- Organizing learning forums through exposure visits between provinces to promote and share lessons learned during the implementation of the National program
The project was supported by ECHO under the Disaster Preparedness Program (DIPECHO), and co-funded by Save the Children Australia and CARE Deutschland and Luxembourg.
National-level DRR actors including INGOs, The World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Disaster Management Center (DMC), Joint Advocacy Network Initiative (JANI) members, Disaster Management Working Group (DMWG) members were involved in the project. Provincial officials from the People’s Committee, the provincial CFSC, DARD, DoET, DPI, Department of Health (DoH), Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DoNRE), including Red Cross, Women’s Union and Fatherland Front were also involved, along with district officials from the People’s Committee, DARD, DoET, DPI, DoH, DoNRE from cluster districts. The project also involved the local population, including children and school students, vulnerable groups and others in targeted communes, and emergency volunteers
The project ran for 18 months from June 2012 to December 2013.