Vietnam has made significant efforts through disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) programs to enhance the resilience of its coastal communities and reduce climate risks. These programs have contributed to significant declines in weather-related human fatalities, but the increases in human injuries and economic losses over the last two decades reveal that these programs have not been fully successful.
This research explores and evaluates factors shaping the success of the recent DRR and CCA efforts in central Vietnam’s coastal communities and investigates opportunities to enhance community resilience (CR) and thereby reduce risks of future climate change. The empirical part of this research relied on community-based participatory action research approaches to engage local residents in Tuong Van community and their representatives from local to provincial agencies. Findings from the case study showed that the success of DRR and CCA programs in enhancing CR and reducing climate risks were shaped by the availability, quality and interplay of five forms of capital (physical, financial, natural, human and social resources) as well as the quality of DRR and CCA governance across multiple scales. Factor that need to be addressed in the transition towards more resilient coastal communities in central Vietnam include limited public participation, lack of responsibility, transparency and accountability, as well as poor collaboration and co-ordination amongst actors at local through national scales in the development and implementation of the two programs aimed at reducing climate risks.
Overall this research reinforces recent efforts to engage local communities in global environmental change research. It not only contributes to efforts to reduce the uncertainties about global climate change and its impacts at the community level, but also advances our knowledge about the interplay between DRR and CCA approaches (concepts and practices) to enhancing CR and reducing climate risks. The research also shows that fostering the development of climate-resilient communities will depend in part on our capacity to further integrate five research themes: climate change, the five capitals, CR, DRR and CCA.