IOM and the Institute of Sociology, Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences, Study Families Forced to Relocate by Environmental Change

IOM and the Institute of Sociology (IOS), Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, have released a new report: 'Planned relocation in the context of environmental change in Hoa Binh Province, Northern Viet Nam: An analysis of household decision-making and relocation outcomes.'

The study assesses the implementation and outcomes of planned relocation in the Hoa Binh Relocation Project, which aims to relocate 1,200 households from two remote communes in the Northwest region that face high natural disaster risks. The study explored project implementation, household decision-making processes and relocation outcomes for 406 households, including those who have relocated, those who wish to move, and those who have chosen to remain or are undecided.

Its findings demonstrate the potential for relocation to contribute to improved quality of life and new opportunities for relocated communities. Existing policy provides for important support that can help relocated households transition successfully to new, safer locations. But the implementation of the current project demonstrates the complex nature of household decisions on relocation and the practical challenges encountered in supporting households to address the multiple factors which impact relocation outcomes.

The research identified key themes in household decision making, along with practices that support successful relocation. In regard to relocation decisions, the research revealed the existence of high levels of risk awareness and disaster experience. However, disaster risk is only one of multiple factors influencing migration decisions. For example, concerns about livelihood impact and social dislocation are also key issues in migration discussions. The findings related to project implementation and relocation outcomes also show that although the majority of households have high awareness of project objectives, they possess a limited understanding of the actual process, and it was noted that the participation of commune authorities and communities in both planning and implementation is  limited. In addition to reaching the above findings, the research recommends policy approaches to support improved relocation practices, including policies on relocation planning and implementation, participation and communication, livelihood development, as well as monitoring and evaluation.

The report was released on the occasion of a best-practices workshop on planned relocation and disaster risk reduction, co-hosted by IOM and IOS in Ha Noi. Findings and recommendations from the study were presented and the event also provided an opportunity for policy makers, researchers, and members of civil society to discuss and learn from the experience and best practices described by regional and international experts.

“Planned relocation, and migration in general, are a possible response to environmental change, which can increase households’ resilience to slow onset and rapid onset disasters. But they can be complex and are probably best when safe in-situ adaptation or other options are not feasible. They also need to be planned, designed, implemented and monitored with full community participation,” said IOM Viet Nam head of programme Paul Priest.


To download the report, please go to:


For further information, please contact IOM Vietnam. David Knight, Tel: +844 3850-1810. Email: