Statement By Mr. Kamal Malhotra United Nations Resident Coordinator, Viet Nam, Celebration of the National Day on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control in Viet Nam

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Event: Statement By Mr. Kamal Malhotra United Nations Resident Coordinator, Viet Nam in Celebration of the National Day on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control in Viet Nam

Date: May 20, 2018

Venue: Ha Noi

Statement by Mr. Kamal Malhotra, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Viet Nam

Delivered by Mr. Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, Chair of the UN Joint Results Group on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience

As delivered

I am honoured today to deliver the statement of Mr. Kamal Malhotra, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam, in my capacity as Chair of the United Nations Joint Results Group on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience, to celebrate the National Day on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control in Viet Nam. The UN Resident Coordinator, has, unfortunately, just left for overseas on official travel which he could not postpone and is, therefore, unable to participate in this important event.

He has asked that I convey both his warm greetings and his regrets for not being here to His Excellency the Prime Minister and all other Ministers and government representatives present here today. Allow me now to read the Resident Coordinator's message.

The UN Country Team wishes to commend the leadership of the Prime Minister and the Government of Viet Nam in placing disaster risk reduction and climate resilience at the centre of its key priorities. This is particularly important because each year disaster related losses cost more than 1% of Vietnam's GDP with this having significantly increased over the last two years because of much larger-scale disasters. Vietnam's own estimates also indicate that its cost of adapting to climate change is likely to rise to 3% of GDP by 2030.

Indeed, recent disasters have highlighted how climate change-related risks can jeopardize Viet Nam's overall hard-earned development gains, in addition to intensifying existing vulnerabilities and disparities among ethnic minority communities, marginalized and poor families, as well as women, children and the elderly. Indeed, the impact of recent disasters has shown that poor households have a disproportionately higher likelihood of falling back into poverty since it is more difficult for them to recover. Disasters can thus have a cumulative life-long impact with existing inequities compounded and passed onto future generations.

In responding to these disasters, the UN Country Team in Viet Nam, together with numerous bilateral development partners such as the Government of Japan and the Republic of Korea, has provided valuable and timely support by mobilizing important and urgently needed resources, most significantly through the UN's own Central Emergency Response Fund. This has allowed for improved joint responses to implement life-saving activities in the areas of food security and the restoration of livelihoods, water and sanitation, shelter, nutrition and protection. Nevertheless, building long-term resilience remains a critical priority for the longer-term.

Distinguished guests,

On this important occasion, the UN Country Team in Viet Nam would like to present three key messages on the way forward.

First, more efforts and resources need to be channelled towards strengthening the capacities of institutions and local actors in understanding disaster risk in all its dimensions. Social protection, particularly for the most vulnerable groups, must also be designed in a manner which is more responsive and resilient to shocks, ensuring that no one is left behind in addition to enabling the country to "Build Back Better."

Second, reinforcing the resilience of communities and vulnerable groups by equipping them with knowledge and life skills to prepare and cope with natural disasters, will be critical.

Third, in line with Agenda 2030, the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development and the Sendai Framework, an expanded partnership between the Government and all partners, especially civil society organizations and the communities themselves will likely be the most critical element of successful implementation.

Your Excellency, the Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen, Allow me to conclude by saying that the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate the UN Country Team's commitment, as a longstanding partner of the Government of Viet Nam, to continuing our support to your Excellency's Government and the people of Vietnam in this complex and multidimensional area.

Thank You, Xin Cảm Ơn!