A conference to promote the role of Vietnamese religions in coping with climate change was held in the central province of Thua Thien – Hue on May 25.

The event was jointly organised by the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee (VFF) and the Nordic Assistance to Vietnam (NAV).

Participants discussed possible methods for adapting to environmental change as well as measures to develop a network of cooperation between religious groups and relevant agencies.

A number of videos were shown to highlight the impact of climate change around the world and in Vietnam in particular, one of the countries the most seriously affected by climate change over the last five decades.

The Vice Chairman of the VFF Central Committee, Le Ba Trinh, said climate change was a reality, as demonstrated by the Earth’s rising temperature, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events, such as floods, tsunamis, earthquakes and droughts.

Statistics show that in recent years natural disasters, such as floods, landslides, droughts, and salt intrusion, have left over 9,000 Vietnamese people dead or missing, and caused a loss of 1.5 percent in the gross domestic product (GDP) each year.

Vietnam is expected to have to resettle 135,000 households in 2015. By 2050, up to 1 million residents of the Mekong Delta provinces, the country’s most vulnerable region, will have to migrate to other areas due to constant floods and droughts.

In response to climate change, the Communist Party of Vietnam and State have developed policies and strategies to mobilise financial resources.

Vietnam joined the UN Kyoto Protocol on mitigating the greenhouse gas emissions in 1997.

The Government of Vietnam has approved a national target programme on climate change adaptation and has set up a national committee on coping with environmental change.

Vietnam is pursuing a proactive approach until 2020 and beyond by reducing the risk of natural disasters and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, while also utilising natural resources in a more effective and sustainable manner, restoring ecosystems and protecting biodiversity in a bid to transition towards a green economy.-VNA