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UNICEF and the Government of Viet Nam call for more investment to reduce the vulnerability of children to the effects of climate change and natural disasters

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Ha Noi, Viet Nam, 18 May 2017 – About 200 officials and experts from the Government of Viet Nam, UNICEF and other international partners gathered in Ha Noi today to celebrate the National Day of Disaster Prevention and Control and to discuss future cooperation to reduce children’s vulnerabilities to climate change effects.

“In recent years, powerful and complex natural disasters have occurred frequently and on a large scale in Viet Nam, causing great losses in human, economic and infrastructure terms. The situation has serious impacts on people’s lives and work as well as the sustainability of the country,” said Mr. Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Head of Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

According to a Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control report, in 2016 alone 264 people were killed and missing, 431 injured and VND 39.726 billion (US$ 1.7 billion) lost due to natural disasters.

“Children bear the brunt of climate change, so it’s critical to invest so that a natural disaster doesn’t become a catastrophe in the life of a child,” said Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam. “In the early years of their lives, children’s bodies and brains are developing at an incredible pace. Climate change exposes them to greater dangers from malnutrition and diarrhoea, but also to higher risks of being victims of abuse or to miss critical years of education. The physical dangers of extreme weather events – flooding, droughts and more – pose unique threats to young bodies and minds during critical years of their development and the consequences can be irreversible.”

Child-centred disaster risk reduction brings the focus on climate change to and it bridges humanitarian and development work by strengthening the resilience of children, families and communities before a crisis, including through preparedness, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

Conference participants took stock of the achievements and lessons learnt from the UNICEF-supported emergency response to the drought and salt water intrusion, rolled out in 2016 in 10 of the most affected provinces in the country. They also shared experiences and discussed future cooperation in child-centred disaster risk reduction in Viet Nam. The conference builds on the first National Conference on Child-Centred Disaster Risk Reduction held in Ninh Thuan province in December 2016 to strengthen the partnership within the Law on Disaster Prevention and Control, Sendai Framework and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The conference concluded by endorsing the future orientations of the Government of Viet Nam and UNICEF’s cooperation with a focus on child-centred disaster risk reduction and risk-informed programming, and called for  strengthen resilience in communities, schools and health facilities, and to draw on good practices, including those from Japan. 

UNICEF has been designated as the lead agency on disaster risk reduction within the United Nations system in Viet Nam. Since August 2016, UNICEF and the Government of Viet Nam have provided emergency relief to more than half a million children and women affected by the drought and salt water intrusion crisis in 10 provinces in Viet Nam’s Central Highlands, South Central Coast and Mekong Delta regions with a financial contribution of US$ 2.5 million from Government of Japan and US$ 1.5 million the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.

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For further information, please contact:

  • Nguyễn Thị Thanh Hương, UNICEF Việt Nam, 84-4-38500225; +84-904154678; email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Nguyen Thuy Ai, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Tel: 0904 160 148; Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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