Climate change studies analyse risks and resilience in urban Vietnam

News, 23 October 2013
Three reports published today provide policymakers with concrete proposals to reduce the diverse threats that climate change poses to different communities in urban areas of Vietnam.

The researchers —whose studies were supported through the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) funded by the Rockefeller Foundation — will present their findings on 23 October at a research and policy dialogue in Da Nang, a side event to the Vietnam Urban Forum on 24-25 October.

"Heat stress and extreme weather are a reality in the lives of Vietnam’s urban citizens, as highlighted by the vulnerable populations these projects studied," says Diane Archer, a researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development who coordinates ACCCRN research projects. "The studies recommend ways policymakers and others can act to increase people’s resilience as temperatures rise and extreme weather poses more threats to their health, livelihoods and housing."

Heat stress

The first study showed that outdoor workers in Da Nang face increasing health threats from extreme heat and have few options for adapting. Women and migrants face greater risks, and poverty forces people to risk their health by working despite extreme heat. It recommends:

  • Health authorities to develop plans for heat waves and train workers to treat and prevent heat stress.
  • Employers to improve working conditions and provide protective clothing and equipment.
  • Government to enforce existing laws and regulations.
  • Long-term efforts to adapt through urban planning to improve infrastructure, such as through tree-planting for shade and heat-resistant buildings, to reduce the impact of extreme temperature.

Storms and rising seas

The second study assessed costs and benefits of restoring mangrove forests around Thi Nai lagoon in Quy Nhon City. Mangroves can protect people and property from storm surges and coastal floods. They also provide other benefits such as increased fish catches, fuel wood and income opportunities from ecotourism. The researchers found that the benefits of restoring mangroves are worth about twice as much as either the cost of reforestation or the benefits that would accrue from using the same area for aquaculture. The study recommends:

  • Government to provide resources to support mangrove restoration projects that involve local communities from the start.
  • Government and tour operators to develop ecotourism to take advantage of the livelihood opportunities that mangrove forests provide.
  • Policy makers to use economic valuation to compare costs and benefits in other situations.

Climate-resilient housing

The third study identified reasons why low-income communities in Hue and Da Nang lack housing that can withstand climatic disasters. It found that professional agencies rarely construct housing for such communities, which cannot afford the high costs. It noted that none of Central Vietnam’s universities has a course related to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Another finding was that mutual support among neighbours and friends was important for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction. The study recommends:

  • Government to subsidise or provide other policy support to overcome the high costs of designing and building resilient houses for low-income communities.
  • Government to develop more training opportunities for people, and universities to add more subjects and courses on climate risk management.
  • Government and education programmes to enhance neighbourhood activities and promote social capital to build community resilience.
  • Government to develop policies to regulate building in hazard prone areas and require builders to adhere to principles for safe housing construction.

All three studies found that people lacked knowledge about climate risks and ways to adapt. They all recommend efforts to raise public awareness and share information between officials and communities.

"Informed, participatory research is a cornerstone of building urban climate change resilience, so that governments, individual households, and businesses can make more robust decisions and investments in the face of uncertainty," says Dr Phong Tran, Technical Lead, ISET-Vietnam, which is the country coordinator for ACCCRN in Vietnam.

The research projects highlighted above do more than just provide information. For example, the Rockefeller Foundation is now funding a project to specifically address concerns the heat stress study raised. It aims to:

  • increase awareness among vulnerable populations of the risks heat exposure poses.
  • pilot interventions to protect workers from heat exposure, and
  • develop a heat stress index to enable government officials, employers and workers to better monitor trends in risk levels.

Contact for interviews: Diane Archer

Download the three reports, which are published in the Asian Cities Climate Resilience Network working paper series.

Community consultation for long-term climate-resilient housing in Vietnamese cities: a comparative case study between Hue and Da Nang.

Cost–benefit analysis of mangrove restoration in Thi Nai Lagoon, Quy Nhon City, Vietnam.

Heat stress and adaptive capacity of low-income outdoor workers and their families in the city of Da Nang, Vietnam. See also the briefing paper that summarises this study.

Community Consultation for Long-term Climate Resilient Housing in Vietnam Cities: A Comparative Case Study between Hue and Da Nang. By Tran Tuan Anh, Tran Van Giai Phong, Tran Huu Tuan and Martin Mulenga (Contact Tran Tuan Anh

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Mangrove Restoration in Thi Nai lagoon, Quy Nhon City, Vietnam. By Tran Huu Tuan and Bui Duc Tinh (Contact and

Heat stress and adaptive capacity of low-income outdoor workers and their families in the city of Da Nang, Vietnam.  By Dao Thi Mai Hoa, Do Anh Nguyet, Nguyen Hoang Phuong, Dang Thu Phuong, Vu Thu Nga, Roger Few, and Alexandra Winkels, Contact Nguyen Hoang Phuong – Researcher, Center for Community Health and Development (Email:, Website:


Mike Shanahan
Press officer

International Institute for Environment and Development
80-86 Gray’s Inn Road
London WC1X 8NH, UK.
Tel: +44 (0)20 3463 7399
Fax: +44 (0)20 3514 9055


Notes to editors

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is an independent, non-profit research institute. Set up in 1971 and based in London, IIED provides expertise and leadership in researching and achieving sustainable development (see:

Was this page useful to you?