Programme Paper (this paper is updated from Oct 2009)

Heike Baumüller
      • Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, averaging around eight percent GDP growth annually over the past five years. On a global scale, the Vietnam's GHG emissions per capita are still minor, but rising rapidly. At the same time, Vietnam has a high stake in successful international action to address climate change given the country's high vulnerability to the impacts of climate change which could threaten local livelihoods and major export interests.
      • Vietnam can tap into a range of renewable energy sources as a means of reducing GHG emissions. Vietnam's large hydro projects will continue to provide a sizeable, albeit diminishing share of power generation capacity. Small hydro, geothermal, biomass and, to a less extent, wind technologies appear to have the biggest potential as cost-effective alternative energy sources to feed into the national grid. However, efforts to scale up renewables are hampered by insufficient government support, low quality technology, limited domestic R&D and manufacturing capacity, high production costs and lack of sufficient finance.
      • Even without climate change, Vietnam is already one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Climate change is expected to further exacerbate these and add additional stresses. Given the high vulnerability to natural disasters, Vietnam already has response mechanisms in place which it can build on for climate change adaptation. However, the current policy framework continues to focus on responding to short-term climatic emergencies rather than preparing the country to adapt to future climate change risks.
      • Vietnam's efforts to deal with climate change are closely linked to what happens in other parts of the Mekong region - both positively and negatively. Vietnam has the opportunity to become a regional leader on developing mitigation and adaptation strategies and technologies, particularly vis-à-vis the less-developed Mekong countries. Vietnam's diverse climates, topography and ecosystems can provide a useful testing ground for piloting new mitigation and adaptation approaches. Moreover, Vietnam's close ties with China will pose both opportunities and challenges that will shape the country's climate change response.