Migration positively supporting people adapt to environmental change in Viet Nam

A report entitled "Adapting to climate change through migration — A case study of the Vietnamese Mekong River Delta" has been published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Viet Nam is highly exposed to regular flooding and typhoons as well as droughts and sea-level rise. Individually and collectively these phenomena have a major impact on the country’s environment and the livelihoods of its 90.73 million people. Adverse environmental conditions clearly influence migration patterns in the country. Since the 1990s,  relocation programmes implemented by the Government for communities affected by environmental degradation, in addition to the overall the number of people internally displaced by natural hazards in recent years (more than 2 million between 2008 and 2015) are clear indicators of the migration–environment nexus affecting Viet Nam.

The report’s finding suggest there is a positive correlation between migration and specific forms of environmental stress — particularly erosion, cyclones and floods. The findings also reveal that migration plays a positive role in helping people to adapt to environmental change overall, however the potential long-term benefits of mobility such as better education or stronger trade and investment rates are relevant, but also run parallel to  migration being applied as a survival strategy. Significantly, migration is an important adaptation strategy to environmental change and is regularly being applied by many residents of the Mekong River Delta. Along with in-situ adaptation and relocation, it is also recommended that migration be recognized and facilitated by the authorities as a viable option, not only for coping with climate change, but also for promoting social and economic development.

 The report findings are published concurrently with a national assessment: ‘Assessing the evidence: Migration, environment and climate change in Viet Nam’, which draws from an extensive number of sources, including academic papers and reports produced by the Government and national and international organizations. This assessment achieves multiple aims, including (i) provision of an overview of the linkages between migration patterns and environmental change in Viet Nam; (ii) delivery of a critical analysis on national policies that address these links; and (iii) recommendations for related research and policy implications. Importantly, the report suggests that the establishment of a ministry of migration could play an important role in ensuring that people migrate in the best conditions and effectively achieve the highest results.

The Socialist Republic of Viet Nam is one of the six pilot countries of the project ‘Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy’ (MECLEP), funded by the European Union and implemented by IOM over a three-year period 2014-2017. To download the reports please go to:

"Adapting to climate change through migration. A case study of the Vietnamese river delta"

"Assessing the evidence: Migration, environment and climate Change in Viet Nam"

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

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