This is the core premise of a UN policy discussion paper on Migration, Resettlement and Climate Change presented at a workshop in Ha Noi today. The paper’s subtitle Reducing exposure and vulnerabilities to climatic extremes and stresses through spontaneous and guided migration shows that it explores the linkages between climatic changes, migration and resettlement in Viet Nam, and relevant policies.
The workshop, jointly organized by the UN and MARD’s Department of Cooperatives and Rural Development, aims to examine the vulnerability of households after the resettlement and analyse the current policies, strategies and social protection programs in supporting migrants and resettled people, especially climate migrants. The UN’s paper was developed jointly by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The participants in the workshop also listened to presentations on resettlement by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD); on migration by IOM; on migrants by the Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs; and on social housing by the Ministry of Construction.
Viet Nam is particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The Vietnamese authorities have several strategies to reduce exposure to climatic extremes and related environmental pressures, especially resettlement of households who may be exposed to storm surges, river floods, landslides or flashfloods. Many people are also choosing themselves to change their livelihood strategies and migrate to other parts because local economic and environmental pressures are high, and some pressures are increasing as a result of climatic changes. Migration is one livelihood strategy that is playing an important role in reducing local exposure and vulnerability and increasing economic opportunities.
“Migration is a trend which is on the rise globally. People migrate for different reasons, including because of climatic and other environmental pressures on their lives and livelihoods,” said UNDP Deputy Country Director in Viet Nam Mr Bakhodir Burkhanov at the workshop. “In the context of more intense climatic changes, migration and resettlement are seen as vital coping and adaptation strategies. In Viet Nam and elsewhere, climate-related migration is happening today.”
The UN’s policy discussion paper recommends policy directions and key actions to strengthen resilience in both sending and receiving areas in the coming years and decades. These recommendations include:
- Strengthen and reform relevant policies to enhance the effectiveness of mobility, migration and resettlement for increasing climate change resilience of Viet Nam’s communities and population.
- Reinforce national and provincial programs to enhance living conditions and livelihood options and resilience of migrants, resettled people, sending and recipient communities.
- Strengthen institutional capacities and operational processes to ensure social protection of migrants and resettled people in the context of climate change.
- Increase knowledge and understanding on the nexus of climate change, mobility, migration and resettlement and the position of migrants in Viet Nam; and build awareness around this.
The paper shows how reforming and strengthening resettlement policies and practices as well as migration related policies and regulations could add up to an important part of a policy framework for climate change adaptation, with a focus on some of the most vulnerable households, men, women and children in Viet Nam.