Climate change is one of the most pressing and complicated challenges faced by our world. It has triggered unexpected and extreme weather events, including irregular rainfall patterns, droughts, floods, and wildfires. Those most at risk tend to be the most vulnerable – people who are unable to adapt to shocks or who live in remote, not easily accessed areas. This poses a serious threat for developing countries by undermining poverty reduction and growth, increasing the vulnerability of already disadvantaged groups. People in popular coastal areas will also be deeply affected by rising sea levels and increased risks of flooding, with Mekong countries among those most affected. The fact that many countries have placed economic growth above sustainable development has resulted in environmental problems that contribute to climate change and negative health repercussions in communities. In developing countries like Vietnam, not enough attention has been paid to environmental protection laws, regulations, and awareness.
MDRI studies climate change issues and adaptation, with a focus on growth with environmental sustainability. To us, environmental sustainability is not just a buzzword, but a means to improving livelihoods, especially of the most disadvantaged communities with high vulnerability to environmental and climatic risks. We recognize the need for a holistic approach to environmental issues, examining social, economic, and environmental connections. Our activities involve formulating a ranking list of the vulnerability level of communes, assessing the local impact of climate change, finding suitable forms of livelihoods, and assessing coping capacities with extreme weather events. Through this, we are able to measure the impacts of climate shocks and risks of current coping strategies – such as livelihood diversification – of poor and ethnic minorities of Central Vietnam. Further, through our impact assessment projects, we have successfully contributed to the environmental-social knowledge base, including water and sanitation interventions and assessing the impacts of controversial hydropower plant construction.
Currently, MDRI is focusing on creating a socio-economic profile of the communities in program areas that will be impacted by Vietnam’s National REDD+ Action Plan, an important part of its National Strategy on Climate Change.