UNICEF and Government of Japan launch a project to enhance climate resilience

Source(s)
United Nations Children's Fund (Global Headquarters, New York)

The project aims to address children’s vulnerabilities due to climate change and strengthen the capacity of institutions, families, and communities through child-centred climate interventions.

Hanoi – The Embassy of Japan and UNICEF Viet Nam today announced a four-year project to enhance resilience to disaster risk and climate change for children.

The project aims to strengthen the capacity of institutions to support child-centred and climate-sensitive actions through policy, advocacy and regulatory interventions, which will benefit all children in viet Nam . The project interventions are designed to enhance the capacity of key sectors to effectively respond to children's needs in an integrated manner, with focus on climate change, nutrition, water and sanitation, social and child protection. The project will be implemented by Viet Nam Disaster Management Authorities (VNDMA) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), other line ministries and development partners.

“The climate crisis is a child’s rights crisis,” said Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam. “Viet Nam has been facing climate change related natural disasters such as drought and saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta Region and consecutive storms that caused heavy floods and landslides in Central Region last year.” Children are the least responsible for climate change, yet they will bear the greatest burden of its impact. UNICEF’s global report issued this year on the Children’s Climate Risk Index shows that children and young people in Viet Nam are among those most at risk of the impacts of climate change, threatening their health, education, and protection. Many communities affected by climate change have pre-existing vulnerabilities and have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project plans to equip children, families and communities with knowledge and life-skills to cope with climate change and natural disasters in Central and the Mekong Delta regions, especially in Soc Trang, Ca Mau, and Bac Lieu provinces. An estimated 20,000 people including 9,000 children will benefit from increased access to improved water, sanitation, and hygiene services, and 10,000 children under five years old will be screened for severe acute malnutrition for possible interventions by 2025. 

Children will play a central role in this project as agents of change for a safe, clean, and green community. The project aims at developing climate change and environmental policies with and for children, enabling children’s participation, and reducing children's vulnerabilities and deprivations while advancing progress against international commitments such, particularly the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework and the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The project is also aligned with Tokyo Strategy 2018 for Mekong-Japan Cooperation, which was adopted by the Heads of Government of Japan, Cambodia, Lao, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam for the tenth Mekong Japan Summit.  The strategy states that recognizing the current situation where climate change could pose a serious threat to the Mekong region, and cause serious disasters, Leaders reaffirmed their efforts to strengthen the response capability and to work together to tackle climate change in the region, reiterating their strong commitment to fully implementing the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, the project will contribute to the Mekong-Japan Initiative for SDGs toward 2030, which was adopted in 11th Mekong-Japan Summit in 2019 to push forward sustainable development in the region. One of the key priority areas of the initiative are environmental and urban issues including climate change mitigation, building climate resilience, and disaster risk reduction and disaster management.

Yamada Takio, Ambassador of Japan to Viet Nam and Rana Flowers signed on Exchange Note at MARD on the day with a witness of Nguyen Hoang Hiep, MARD Vince Minister. “The effects of climate change have already become evident, and we need to address the changes with a sense of urgency. Vietnam has its own vulnerability to the impact of climate change, and in fact, we have already witnessed the damages caused by severe droughts, heavy floods and landslides in Vietnam. We also need to give due consideration to vulnerable people including children, by improving coordination between the local community and the authorities of the related sectors such as health, sanitation, water, and education,” said Yamada Takio. The Vice Minister also emphasized ‘‘The signing event for project funding agreement today marks an important milestone in the strong and long partnership between the Government of Japan, the Government of Vietnam and the UNICEF. In the coming time, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development hopes that the Japanese Government and UNICEF will continue to share experiences in developing public-private partnership projects to strengthen the resilience of the governance systems and DRM infrastructure; produce recommendations to the Government of Vietnam on the implementation of multidisciplinary behavior change communication campaign in disaster risk management; raise awareness of both people and leaders, especially at local levels, to contribute to  the promotion of a sustainable and resilient society  to natural disasters.’’

The project will accelerate the partnership for the protection and promotion of child rights in climate change and disaster risk reduction between UNICEF and VNDMA who have been collaborating since the emergency response to drought and saltwater intrusion in 2016-2017, which was also supported by the Government of Japan. It will also seek to introduce innovative and sustainable technologies on disaster resilience and climate responsiveness for drought and flood-prone areas, and will draw on experience from Japan and other countries. UNICEF’s support through this project will complement the efforts of development partners including JICA by enhancing capacities of officials, service providers, children, and communities.

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