Response to climate change for mountainous sustainable socio-economic development

Posted at: TUEsday - 25/02/2014 10:01 - post name: Nguyễn Thị Thùy

Dr. Nguyễn Ngọc Sinh – President  of the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (Photos: internet)

Dr. Nguyễn Ngọc Sinh – President of the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (Photos: internet)

Nowadays, climate change is without exception, even the mountainous area far from the sea. In Vietnam, the Northern mountainous and highlands area accounts for about 85% and the Central about 90% regional natural land area. These areas play an important role in economic development with an extremely rich and diverse natural resources. Moreover, the mountainous and highlands area holds an important position in the Vietnam’s national defense and security. However, the area mostly is poor and undeveloped and additionally severely affected by the natural disasters that cause enormous loss of poverty and lives of people. In the context of climate change, by category, the mountainous and high lands area is one of the most vulnerable areas. The reporter of did an interview with Dr. Nguyễn Ngọc Sinh – President of the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment

REPORTER: Could you tell us the reasons of mountainous sustainable development?

Dr. Nguyễn Ngọc Sinh:  First of all, that is the climate change’s impacts on the Northern mountainous area. Namely, in the rainy season, the heavy rains cause floods, flash floods, and mudflow which increase in both their frequency and intensity.  In the dry season, less rains, low flow, and low humidity cause serious droughts, extending the regional desertification process and increasing the risk of forest fire in the entire season.

Secondly, the climate change’s impacts on the Central mountainous area and  Highlands. For example, in the rainy season, the Central mountainous area and Highlands are not affected directly by the storms and tropical depression when hitting the coastal areas but under the huge influence. In dry season, anomalous prolonged heat, less rains, low flow, and low humidity cause the same consequences as in the Northern mountainous area.

REPORTER: With a terrain near the sea in a high position which extends over latitudes, a large area, a long tradition of farming, especially an abundance of world-class biodiversity, what changes does the Vietnamese mountainous economy need to take to be able to respond to the climate change with a good exploitation and promotion?

Dr. Nguyễn Ngọc Sinh:  We need to strengthen investigation, do research, perform a systematical evaluation of mountainous socio-economic development potential in accordance with climate change scenarios, have a long-term vision for the regional development, and do early planning and construction of centers – the motivation to develop the whole area.

 Additionally, the number of inhabitants increases mechanically from the coastal area to the delta lowlands. The ability for the mechanical growth population in the mountainous area by climate refugees is inevitable; however, its number, time, and location needs to be identified under planning.

Similarly, the level of investment increase and transfer of investment focus into the mountainous area will facilitate the regional economic development. At the same time, the development can be planed for the whole period lasting to the mid or even end of the 21st century on the basis of climate change scenarios completed by time.

P.V: Vậy theo ông cần có giải pháp nào để ứng phó biến đổi khí hậu nhằm phát triển bền vững kinh tế miền núi?

Dr. Nguyễn Ngọc Sinh:  Response to climate change in the mountainous provinces aims at the protection of biodiversity due to increasing temperature and drought as well as the limitation and mitigation of  the ability to damage the natural systems such as forest, water, and land resources, etc. Therefore, in my opinion, we firstly need to complete the climate change scenarios and evaluate their impacts on the mountainous socio-economic development.  Then, it ought to be performed an adequate and systematical research and evaluation of natural and environmental potential of the mountainous in response to the climate change scenarios. Also, we need to develop and protect the forest resources, raise the forest quality, especially headwater forests, protection forests, special-use forests, and subtropical and temperate forests as well as the model of wide animals associated with forest ecosystem. The food-for-forest and energy-for-forest models as well as the model of ecotourism should be developed.

Additionally, prevention of forest fire and indiscriminate deforestation by mechanisms and policies on settled agriculture, settlement, land and forest allocation, stability of life of mountainous and ethnic minority, and construction of the model of agriculture-forest model in combination with ecosystem in the hills and mounds.

It is necessary to develop, protect, and explore reasonably the water and land resources with application of cultivation techniques appropriate to the local natural conditions and to build up a sustainable eco-agriculture-forest system in the direction of commodity production.

Moreover, we should plan and mange construction, especially rural, mountainous, and waterfront residential areas in order to protect the people’s life and health and environment; develop, complete, and exploit well the irrigation system; convert structure of plants and animals in the direction of using varieties in adaption to the dry conditions and increase the proportion of livestock in agricultural economic structure; apply the scientific and technological advances into cultivation and animal husbandry with focus on economical and effective irrigation methods, moisturizing, livestock production plans, and limitation of freely grazing; step up communication, raise community capacity on climate change and response to climate change; and enhance regional and international cooperation for a mountainous sustainable socio-economic development.

Author: Băng Thanh
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