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Community-Based Adaptation: Viet Nam

Community-Based Adaptation: Viet Nam


Viet Nam, with an extensive coastline and high baseline vulnerability to cyclones, is highly threatened by climate change.  Threats include:

  • Increasingly intense cyclones
  • Sea-level rise and coastal erosion
  • Increasingly erratic rainfall and heightened risk of drought and flood
  • Increased risk of river flooding, particularly in the Mekong Delta

Community-Based Adaptation activities in Viet Nam focus on adaptation through natural resource management among resource-dependent communities, and will be guided by the Viet Nam CBA Country Programme Strategy.

The Viet Nam CBA portfolio consists of seven (7) projects:

1. Addressing Drought and Saltwater Intrusion Issues for Agro-Development in the Ky Nam Community

2. Sustainable Agricultural Production and Food Security at Phuoc Hoa Commune

3. Adaptation through Conservation and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources in Thua Thien Hue Province

4. Onion-Based Cultivation Crops to Adapt to Droughts and Saline Intrusion in Vinh Chau Commune

5. Minimizing Climate Change Impacts for Sustainable Aquaculture in Con Truong, Hoang Chau Commune

6. Conservation and Sustainable Use of Drought- and Salinity-Tolerant Rice Varieties in Phuoc Long Community

7. Applying Technologies to Address Flash Floods and Drought in Cam Tam Commune

Viet Nam is one of ten countries implementing projects as part of UNDP's Community-Based Adaptation programme. *


Project details

Viet Nam’s climate, topography and long coastline makes it particularly vulnerable to climate variability and natural disasters. Most analysis and scenarios suggest that climate change will exacerbate this vulnerability, particularly in coastal regions. However, uncertainty over the precise scale and nature of climate change remains. The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MONRE) (2003) climate simulations, including a range of possible scenarios, suggested mean annual temperature changes for Viet Nam of 1.5-2.5°C by 2070, while the IPCC projects that this change might be greater (IPCC, 2007).  Changes in precipitation are less certain, but increases are generally suggested (MONRE 2003).  Projected changes in potential evapotranspiration vary with scenario, but could be increased by 3% with a temperature increase of 1°C, to an increase of 8% given a temperature increase of 2.5°C.

Recent studies conclude that Viet Nam is extremely vulnerable to these impacts. Dasgupta et al's (2007) analysis suggests that Viet Nam is one of world’s top five most vulnerable countries to sea level rise and the most vulnerable to impacts in East Asia.  One metre SLR would affect approximately 5% of Viet Nam’s land area, 11% of the population, 7% of agriculture, and reduce GDP by 10 percent. The very long-term projections for 3- and 5-metre sea level rise for Viet Nam are described as potentially catastrophic. Climate change may drive other changes too, including prolonged dry seasons and increasing storm frequency and intensity. During the last quarter of 2007, Viet Nam suffered serious damages from a series of recurrent disasters in the form of floods, storms and typhoons without precedent in the history of the country. 

The Government of Viet Nam ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 16 November 1994 an submitted its Initial National Communication (INC) to the UNFCCC in 2003. Adaptation measures recommended by the INC are preliminary. The Second National Communication (SNC) to the UNFCCC will emphasize adaptation, and will provide guidance to promote Climate Change adaptation measures in Viet Nam. The preparation process for the SNC highlighted a number of barriers to implementing Climate Change adaptation measures in Viet Nam, including weak national and local capacity to undertake CC impact analysis and to identify cost-effective adaptation measures. Limited awareness and poor data to support planning and implementation climate change adaptation measures is also a key barrier. Community-based projects and activities are needed to pilot cost effective CC adaptation measures, and to feed to national policies and programmes on CC adaptation.

Viet Nam’s traditional perception of disasters is water-related. Floods, storms and droughts count for nearly 80% of the natural disasters in Viet Nam. Climate change adaptation and disaster management in the face of climate change should address multiple hazards and emphasise vulnerability reduction and other long term measures over short-term preparedness and response. Viet Nam’s high capacity to respond to floods and storms is recognized internationally, but this capacity is not equivalent in responding to long-term CC impacts, including droughts and salt water intrusion. There is a strong need to build and strengthen capacities throughout the sectors and localities to manage these impacts based on a comprehensive understanding of the linkage between baseline disaster risks, and impacts from long-term climate change. Vulnerable communities need to increase their understanding of CC risks and need improved access to resources and facilities to implement CC adaptation measures. It is important to ensure that the allocation of resources and prioritization of adaptation actions takes into account these local needs and emphasizes vulnerability reduction as a core strategy.

UNDP, in collaboration with The GEF Small Grants Programme, has designed the Community-Based Adaptation (CBA) project to achieve the goal of reducing vulnerability and increasing adaptive capacity to the adverse effects of climate change in the GEF focal areas, building the resilience of communities, ecosystems, and resource-dependant livelihoods in the face of climate change.  CBA pilots community-based projects that enhance community-level adaptive capacity to climate change, while simultaneously generating global environmental benefits in a GEF focal area.

Viet Nam is one of the ten (10) participating countries of the CBA project. The CBA Country Programme Strategy (CBA CPS) is developed to clearly outline for CBA Viet Nam the approach and provide guidance about operations, monitoring and evaluation, and knowledge management. The CBA CPS adapts the global CBA to specific country conditions, taking into account existing national strategies and plans, as well as those relating to national sustainable development and poverty eradication. The CBA CPS puts emphasis on certain thematic and geographic focus to ensure synergy and impact, as well as to facilitate programme administration.

Addressing strong linkages between baseline disaster risk and CC impacts, CBA in Viet Nam focuses on drought and salt water intrusion issues in the Central Coast region. Integrated climate risk management practices as they relate to natural resource management, including biodiversity, land and water, contribute to minimize the adverse effects of climate change in terms of biodiversity loss and land degradation & desertification. Droughts and salt water intrusion are threatening food security and seriously affecting agroforestry development and fisheries in the face of climate change in the Central Coast. Strengthening local adaptive capacity to minimise the impacts of droughts and salt water intrusion will promote sustainable livelihoods and reduce poverty in the face of climate change impacts.

In line with the above scope, a portfolio of 10 projects were developed for the CBA Viet Nam.


Source: CBA Viet Nam Country Programme Strategy

Level of intervention
  • Community
Implementing agencies and partnering organizations
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Global Environment Facility (GEF)
  • The GEF Small Grants Programme
Project status
Funding Source
Global Environment Facility - Strategic Priority on Adaptation
Financing amount
$350,000 (approximate, as detailed Aug. 2012)

Key results and output

The objective of the CBA programme in Viet Nam is to integrate climate change risk reduction practices into existing sustainable management of biodiversity and land resources in the Central Coast in Viet Nam.  CBA projects will support the integration of climate change risks into these activities, while baseline NRM activities will be supported through co-financing.

The achievement of this objective will be measured by the following impact indicators:

  • Number of CC adaptation measures deployed as part of climate change-resilient sustainable resource management activities;
  • Inclusion of CC adaptation in the local strategy and action plan on sustainable development (provincial agriculture and fisheries sectors).  Evaluation through number of inclusions made into strategies and plans.
  • Rate of loss of natural resource base for livelihoods determined to be negatively impacted by climate change.
  • Livelihoods options better suited to climate change available to target community.
  • Number of families/households benefiting from climate change resilient sustainable resource management activities.
  • Number of lessons learnt/ best practices from the CBA Viet Nam to contribute to national/provincial CC adaptation programmes.
  • Community understanding about CC issues.

These indicators will be measured at the level of the national CBA programme with each project making a contribution towards an impact at the national/provincial levels.

Source: CBA Viet Nam Country Programme Strategy

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Monitoring & evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation for community-based adaptation is a new field, and the CBA project is piloting innovative approaches to evaluating the success of locally-driven adaptation projects, and generating lessons to inform ongoing practice.

Key considerations in M&E for CBA include:

  • Grounding M&E in the local context: M&E for CBA should avoid overly rigid frameworks, recognizing community heterogeneity and maintaining local relevance
  • Capturing global lessons from local projects: CBA projects are highly contextualized, but lessons generated should be relevant to stakeholders globally
  • Incorporation of both quantitative and qualitative indicators: to ground projects in tangible changes that can be objectively evaluated, and to capture lessons and case studies for global dissemination

To these ends, the CBA project uses three indicator systems: the Vulnerability Reduction Assessment, the Small Grants Programme Impact Assessment System, and the UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Indicator Framework.

The Vulnerability Reduction Assessment (VRA)

The VRA is a question-based approach with the following aims:

  • To make M&E responsive to community priorities
  • To use M&E to make projects more accountable to local priorities
  • To make M&E capture community ideas and local knowledge
  • To gather community-level feedback to guide ongoing project management
  • To generate qualitative information
  • To capture lessons on specific issues within community-based adaptation
  • To generate case studies highlighting adaptation projects

The VRA follows UNDP's Adaptation Policy Framework, and is measured in a series of meetings with local community stakeholders. In these meetings, locally-tailored questions based on standard VRA questions/indicators are posed, and the community assigns a numerical score on a 1-10 scale for each question. Progress is evaluated through changes in scores over the course of implementation, as well as through qualitative data collected in community discussions surrounding the exercise.

UNDP has developed a Users Guide to the VRA (Espanol) (Francais) as a tool to assist practitioners to conceptualize and execute VRA measurements in the context of CBA projects.

The SGP Impact Assessment System (IAS)

The CBA, being a project of the GEF Strategic Priority on Adaptation, aims to increase the resilience of ecosystems and communities to the impacts of climate change, generating global environmental benefits, and increasing their resilience in the face of climate change impacts. To this end, the CBA projects use the SGP's impact assessment system for monitoring achievements in GEF focal areas (focusing primarily on biodiversity and sustainable land management).

The IAS is composed of a number of quantitative indicators which track biophysical ecosystem indicators, as well as policy impact, capacity development and awareness-building.

UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Indicator Framework

CBA projects also track quantitative indicators from UNDP's adaptation indicator framework, corresponding to the thematic area on natural resources management. More information on UNDP's indicator framework can be found on the UNDP climate change adaptation monitoring and evaluation website.


This description applies to all projects implemented through UNDP's Community-Based Adaptation programme. Specific details on this project's M&E will be included here as they become available. *