Andrew Wyatt, Mekong Delta Programme Manager at IUCN's Ho Chi Minh City project office, provides some background and perspective on the BCR journey in Viet Nam.
“When we began the project in 2011, Viet Nam had just embarked on its ‘National Target Programme for Climate Change Action’ which instructed all Vietnamese Provinces to begin to plan for climate change. The BCR project, coming at the time it did in 2010, was thus enthusiastically welcomed by our National and Provincial government partners.
In particular, our provincial partners were struggling with how to meet some of the objectives of the Programme. They lacked process knowledge and the participatory tools. So we began by reviewing their needs and discovered that while they had access to climate change scenarios from their Ministry, they had little idea on how to pass on that knowledge to local government and communities, and more importantly how to turn it into local level adaptation action.
What we then rolled out was a programme of training-of-trainers at a provincial level, where we trained over 79 provincial technical officers who then went on to utilize the vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning tools we provided to work with pilot communities. What we jointly learnt with our provincial partners in that process was that poor coastal communities were often well aware of past climate trends and were able to respond with constructive ideas.
We also learnt that in some cases it was extremely important to supplement local knowledge with external technical expertise. Ownership and sustainability had also been a key strategy that we pursued successfully, we think. We did this by fostering partnerships between communities and local governments, and giving various local government agencies, the Women’s Unions and local associations the lead role in implementing community proposals in partnership with the community.”