A rescuer carries a little girl to safe place during a flood in Cam Lo district, central province of Quang Tri. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A seminar in Hanoi on March 8 highlighted the need to overhaul legal documents relating to natural disaster prevention and control with children’s rights taken into consideration.

It was organised by the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, UNICEF, and the US Agency for International Development.

Vu Xuan Thanh – Deputy General Director of the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Deputy Chief of Office of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control – said that in recent years, the Party, State and Government have promoted concerted structural and non-structural solutions to minimise the impact of natural disasters. Relevant mechanisms, policies and laws have also been perfected.

However, laws and legal documents on disaster prevention and control must continue to be reviewed and amended in order to facilitate appropriate actions in response to the reality of increasingly unpredictable and extreme impact of climate change, he noted.

Mizuho Okimoto-Kaewtathip, Chief of Social Policy and Governance at UNICEF Vietnam, said law revision should pay more attention to disaster risk mitigation, preparations, responsibility improvement at all sectors and levels, and improvement of data to serve effective planning, management and response.

The role of schools in promoting communities’ awareness and resilience to natural disasters is especially important. Therefore, laws should be amended in a way that promotes children’s role as the main factor of changes to create disaster-safe communities, she said.

Climate change impact is unavoidable, but with a more comprehensive legal framework, Vietnam can prove its efforts towards sustainable development so that no one and no child is left behind, she added.

Dr. Ian F. Wilderspin, a disaster risk and climate change specialist, said although the number of legal documents is rising fast, they are still unable to cover all fields and not detailed enough to regulate all disaster prevention and control activities.

He proposed that Vietnam review all laws and legal documents related to disaster risk management and specify issues that need to be prioritised for amendment. Additionally, disaster risk management guidelines should switch their focus from disaster response to disaster risk mitigation and climate change adaptation. –VNA