Vietnam needs a total of 30 billion USD for climate change response through green growth, said a report released at a meeting in Hanoi on May 21.

Climate change related disasters have caused annual average cost in damages of 2-6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to the Climate Public Expenditure and Investment Review announced by the Ministry of Planning and Investment under the support of the World Bank (WB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The report showed that the Vietnamese Government spent a limited amount of its own resources for climate change mitigation, including low-carbon energy generation (about 4 billion VND equal to 183,000 USD) and energy efficiency measures (about 76 billion VND equal to 348,000 USD).

In the meantime, the report said about 88 percent of the total budget for climate-change response during 2010-13 (14.9 trillion VND) was spent for direct activities, such as building infrastructure, building dykes to protect coasts and afforesting.

Nine percent was directed towards science and technology development and three percent for making policies and management activities related to climate-change response.

In addition, experts said that although the Government dedicated a significant amount of spending on climate change activities as well as established political agenda through climate change and green growth strategies, the agenda had not realised its full potential, shortcoming were found - and some important activities remained underfunded.

Pham Hoang Mai, Director General of the ministry's Science, Education, Natural Resources and Environment Department, one of authors of the report, said that to integrate climate change into the budget, the country needed to introduce a climate budget.

In the long term, this budget could become a rolling programme based on an annually updated medium-term fiscal framework, he said.

Mai also said an important task would be to establish a strategic direction for climate-change response plans and expenditure in the social-economic development plan 2016-20.

Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank Country Director for Vietnam, said that mainstreaming climate change into the budget would strengthen Vietnam's resilience against the impacts of a warming world, make communities less vulnerable, and tackle the emissions challenge as Vietnam continued its journey toward a greener and prosperous future.

According to experts, Vietnam's greenhouse gas emissions and overall carbon intensity have significantly increased as a result of the economic expansion.

Statistics from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment showed that greenhouse gas emissions rose from 103.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to 246.8 million of tonnes between 1994 and 2010.

Thus, the report helped accelerate the country's transition to a low-carbon economy, said Louise Chamberlain, Country Director for the United Nations Development Programme.-VNA