This case study chronicles Viet Nam’s experiences in conducting vulnerability and risk assessments (VRAs) of selected agriculture sectors at the national level and a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to support sectoral adaptation planning, budgeting, and policy formulation. Lessons learned from these endeavours can provide insights for other countries who are seeking, like Viet Nam, to develop an evidence-based and climate risk-informed National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and/or adaptation plans for the agriculture sector.
VRAs were conducted for the crops, livestock and aquaculture sectors and the water resources sector to inform the design of sector-specific measures for Viet Nam’s NAP. The studies adopted similar approaches to prepare vulnerability indices based on an assessment of more than 80 indicators, including 7 climate change exposure indicators, 25 climate change sensitivity indicators and 18 climate change adaptive indicators for crops, livestock and aquaculture, as well as 30 indicators for water resources infrastructure.
Based on climatic, socio-economic and agricultural data, a unique vulnerability index (VI) was developed for 6 crops (rice, maize, sugarcane, coffee, fruits, cassava), 5 livestock (pig, poultry, cattle, buffaloes, dairy), and 2 aquaculture varieties (fish, shrimp).
In addition, a VI was developed for 53 813 water resources infrastructure assets (8 594 reservoirs, 9 108 pumping stations, 11 916 weirs, 18 874 canals and 5 428 sluices).
The aggregated climate VIs allow for better targeting of adaptation measures by providing a spatially explicit overview of the climate risk faced by each sector at district level. The VIs show that the most vulnerable regions by sector are the Northern Central Coastal Region (NCR) (for crops and aquaculture sectors), the Southeast Region (SER) (for aquaculture), the Mekong River Delta (MRD) (for aquaculture and crops), the Northern West Mountainous Region (NWM) (for crops), and the Red River Delta (RRD) (for livestock).
The VRA of water resources infrastructure shows the VIs and measures the overall risk to specific infrastructure assets. Over 36 percent of sampled reservoirs were classified to be very highly or highly vulnerable to climate change and almost 57 percent of pumping stations assessed were classified to be of very high or high vulnerability.
Adaptation measures to address the climate risks were identified for each sector and cost-benefit analysis (CBA) was conducted. Together with the VIs, the outcomes of the CBA were used to prioritise potentially promising adaptation measures in the crops, aquaculture and livestock sectors such as rice intensification and integrated cassava and peanut cultivation. In the water resources sector, the CBA helped prioritise infrastructure assets where adaptation measures would both improve their resilience to climate change and minimise potential climate change impacts on society.
The developed VIs proved useful for targeting regions at particular risk from climate change and identifying possible adaptation measures. The overview of VI rankings between different provinces and districts allowed a general comparison of potential priority areas in need of interventions. It could also inform future public adaptation planning and budgeting processes, ensuring that required support to cope with climate change-induced risks is being provided.
However, while ground-truthing the computed VI-results, the study teams found that there is a need to verify computed results and proposed measures with communities. Ultimately, different users at community and sector levels require tailored vulnerability and risk assessment information to make more evidence-based decisions about climate change and adaptation. Thus, it is essential to complement these indices with field observations and consultations with end-users.