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07 Dec 2016

Assessing the Evidence: Migration, Environment and Climate Change in Viet Nam

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The Socialist Republic of Viet Nam is one of the six pilot countries of the European Union-funded Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy (MECLEP) project.

Drawing from an extensive number of sources, including academic papers and reports produced by the Government and national and international organizations, this assessment aims to: (i) provide an overview of the linkages between migration patterns and environmental change in Viet Nam; (ii) critically analyse national policies that address these links; and (iii) propose some related research and policy implications.

Viet Nam is particularly exposed to floods and typhoons as well as droughts and sea-level rise, which have major impacts 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, the relocation programmes implemented by the Government for communities affected by environmental degradation and the number of people internally displaced by natural hazards in recent years (more than 2 million between 2008 and 2015) are clear signs of the migration–environment nexus.

The report concludes that more detailed research should be conducted in order to fully understand the migration–environment nexus and exhaustively address the needs of relocated and displaced people in the country. The establishment of a ministry of migration could play an important role in ensuring that people migrate in the best conditions.


  • Acknowledgements
  • List of figures 
  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary
    • I. Introduction
    • II. Background 
      • II.1. Socioeconomic context of Viet Nam
      • II.2. Environmental profile of Viet Nam
      • II.3. Migration – evidence from the past
        • II.3.a. International migration and emigration
        • II.3.b. Internal migration
        • II.3.c. Development-induced displacement
        • II.3.d. Relocation
        • II.3.e. The role of remittances 
    • III. Key challenges: The migration, environment and climate change nexus
      • III.1. Sudden-onset events and their effects on migration patterns
        • III.1.a. Hurricanes, tropical storms, typhoons and heavy rains
        • III.1.b. Floods, flash floods and landslides
        • III.1.c. Earthquakes
        • III.1.d. Wildfires
      • III.2. Slow-onset processes and their effects on migration patterns
        • III.2.a. Sea-level rise
        • III.2.b. Coastal erosion
        • III.2.c. Increasing temperature
        • III.2.d. Salinization
        • III.2.e. Desertification and droughts
        • III.2.f. Land and forest degradation
        • III.2.g. Loss of biodiversity
      • III.3. Vulnerability, environment and migration
        • III.3.a. Vulnerability mapping
        • III.3.b. Types of livelihood affected (and co-stressors)
        • III.3.c. Internal migration, relocation and displacement dynamics due to environmental factors
        • III.3.d. Cross-border movements
    • IV. Toolkit for policymakers
      • IV.1. Existing policy framework
        • IV.1.a. Climate change and environment: Disaster management
        • IV.1.b. Migration, displacement and planned relocation 
        • IV.1.c. Economic growth and poverty reduction
        • IV.1.d. Land use
      • IV.2. Policies in development
    • V. Conclusions, research priorities and policy options
  • Bibliography