Climate change has become a major issue today because of its undeniable influence on sustainable development worldwide. Its impact has already gone beyond immense natural disasters. In the case of Vietnam, millions of people not only lose their homes but also their livelihoods because of the rising sea level and other calamities caused by climate change. Food productivity then decreases, affecting the country’s food security. Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is the organization tasked with ensuring the country’s food security by preventing and mitigating natural disasters on behalf of society and sustainable development. One of the key elements for successfully achieving this is learning the right measures and adopting them on time.

To this effect, Mekong Institute (MI), in collaboration with Vietnam’s Monitoring Office of Program 165, organized a two-week training program on “The Impact of Climate Change on Environment and Natural Resource Management in Agricultural Sector.” The training was held from August 9 to 19, 2016 at MI, and 18 government officials of Vietnam working on agriculture, rural development, and climate issues participated.

The training aimed to enhance the understanding of participants on the impact of climate change on environment and resource management, focusing specifically on agriculture, rural development, and food safety. On the first day, participants learned more about climate change and how it impacts sustainable development, followed by learning how to manage these impacts through effective international cooperation, as well as about how climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts can achieve better GMS cooperation and ASEAN integration. Lastly, the training discussed the impacts of climate change on agriculture, rural development and food safety.

The training also included structured learning visits to communities in the provinces of Kalasin, Roi Et, and Chaiyaphum of Thailand. Thailand has already begun implementing noteworthy strategies to adapt to climate change; to mitigate some of the effects that are already being felt in some sectors and to protect its farmlands, coasts and cities. The participants were able to observe some of these innovative climate adaptation and mitigation measures. Participants reflected on the lessons learned and the applicability of their learning experiences during discussion sessions over the course of the training, enabling them to come up with recommendations and identify possible areas to strengthen climate resilience efforts in Vietnam, as well as improving its socio-ecological systems.

Dr. Dinh Vu Thanh Deputy Director General, Department of Science Technology and Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development:

“I have learned a lot of knowledge and skills on climate change response in the agricultural sector from the training at Mekong Institute. I do think the acquired knowledge and skills will be very helpful for my work in Vietnam.”

Overall, the training was deemed a success. The participants were able to take advantage of the opportunity to link theoretical knowledge with the good practices of three communities. The participants were also able to learn about the cooperation framework, as well as the participation and partnership arrangements for the measures undertaken by the rural communities in Thailand.

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