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Remarks by Ms. Akiko Fujii, UNDP Viet Nam Deputy Country Director at Project closing workshop of project "Strengthening Institutional Capacity for Disaster Risk Management in Viet Nam, including Climate Change related Disasters” –SCDM-II

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Date: Tuesday, 13 December 2016
Event: Project closing workshop of project "Strengthening Institutional Capacity for Disaster Risk Management in Viet Nam, including Climate Change related Disasters” –SCDM-II
Venue: The Ann Hotel, 38 Hang Chuoi, Ha Noi, Viet Nam

Your Excellency, Dr. Hoan Van Thang, Vice Mninister of Agrilculture and Rural Development
Ms. Claire Ireland, Head of Economic and Development Cooperation, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australian Embassy in Viet Nam;
Distinguished representatives from ministries and agencies;
Colleagues from development partner and project counterparts;
Ladies and gentlemen:

Let me join Vice Minister Thang and Ms, Ireland in warmly welcoming you to this project closing workshop of the project "Strengthening Institutional Capacity for Disaster Risk Management in Viet Nam”.

The project demonstrated a unique cooperation between UNDP and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on disaster risks management in the past 8 years. It also illustrates the success of the strong collaboration and support from DFAT, and innovative partnership with Oxfam, Viet Nam Women Union, and National Red Cross in the past 5 years.

Eight years ago, when we started Phase I of this project, in Viet Nam disasters management in Viet Nam focused mainly on responding to the aftermath of  floods, storms and droughtsand the Department of Dyke management and Flood & Storm Control was the project counterpart. Phase 1 was able to help establish and design mandate for a national DRM Centre, looked comprehensively at disaster risk and begin to address the challenge of climate change, and Phase II helped support finalization of the new Law on Disaster Prevention and Control and to help establish a strong Department to support its implementation.

Today, the picture looks more comprehensive and promising at all levels owing to project significant contributions. The project has been able to support the formulation and implementation of the Law, providing pioneering support in policies on key issues from disaster data, to risk mapping, to gender mainstreaming.

Equally at the local level the project helped put in place the building blocks for the national community based disaster risk management programme (CBDRM) which is being rolled out in 6000 high risk communes.  This programme has been cited as global example of participatory, bottom-up planning processes being able to enhance the effectiveness of local level disaster risk management.  

It is encouraging that the project output of standardized CBDRM training materials are now widely applied in various annual trainings in all key programmes and projects. And outputs of the plans are increasingly helping make sure than annual socio-economic development plans take disaster and climate change risk into account.

The project helped create partnerships and platforms for collaboration and discussions among thousands of DRR leaders, provincial experts, academics and practitioners- and helped strengthen coordination through initiatives such as the Community based Disaster Risk Management Technical Working Group and national DRM working group.  It also helped pilot innovating approaches in geo-spatial information management, in understanding how social vulnerability can impact disaster risk, and in making scientific data such as coastal storm surge maps or flood risk maps understandable to local communities and decision makers.

These are only some highlighted results. Many other outstanding outputs and contribution of the project will be presented by the project management unit and project counterparts latter today.

Ladies and gentlemen,
The Sustainable Development Goals or 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Climate Paris Agreement provide comprehensive frameworks for sustainable development and actions on climate change and disaster risk reduction. It is now time to implement action to realize goals and targets.

Today’s meeting is a good opportunity to reflect direction and focus of the future strategies and action plan from managing disasters towards managing risks and taking into account the negative impacts of climate change.

In this context, I would like to offer few suggestion for your consideration and discussion:
First, we underscore the need to scale up the successful CDRM programme pilot and good local initiatives to more localities throughout Viet Nam. The past years saw significant progress in the implementation of the CBDRM and other ODA supported projects, with the engagement of  local people, including women and women’s organization in DRR. However, the CBDRM remains underfunded from the central government budget and limited funding from provinces. This calls for stronger commitment from the central and local government to prioritize resources for the CBDRM. This also calls for a better coordination of resources, including management of a financial mix of the domestic and international funding to enhance effectiveness of delivering support to those who are in needs.

Second, the 2015/16 El Niño, drought and salt water intrusion have been a wakeup call for Viet Nam and its development community highlighting how quickly extreme disaster events can set-back hard-won development gains. In the face of increasingly intense and frequent climate related events, further investments in resilience building and in adjusting systems to target assistance to the most vulnerable, and support effective recovery after disasters will be essential.  

Higher level policy support will be needed to generate a stronger framework onwards for increased flexibility in domestic financing of the disaster response.

Third, strengthening comprehensive risk information systems and making this data more accessible is key.  Good data can improves the ability of planners to make good decisions, , but can also the wider public including academia and the private sector to improve research, new product development and business continuity planning.  

And it is good news that from 2017 under the new programme supported by the Green Climate Fund, UNDP will build on the work of SDCM-II and other projects to systematically apply customary disaster and climate risk assessments, risk mappings and risk database in all 28 coastal provinces.

Colleagues and friends,
As we are celebrating our joint successful outputs and outcome and fruitful collaboration under the SCDM project framework, I would like to express our deep acknowledgement for the support from and fruitful cooperation with the Vice Minister, other leaders and colleagues from MARD. We would like to express sincere appreciation to DFAT for generous financial support to the phase II.
UNDP in Viet Nam will continue to collaborate with the Government, development partners, non-government organizations, youth, and communities to harness local knowledge and new technologies to further resilient building efforts in Viet Nam.

Xin cam on va chuc suc khoe!