On World Meteorological Day 2018, CCAFS joins IRI during its first visit to Vietnam to discuss collaboration to develop and deliver integrated climate services and products for agriculture and food system in the country through the Columbia World Project ACToday.
With a coastline spanning 3,260 kilometers, Vietnam is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise, salt water intrusion impacting soil salinity, increasing extreme weather event severity and frequency, and climate variability. According to 2017 data, agriculture, forestry, and fishery account for roughly 15% of Vietnam’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). But while Vietnam is poised to achieve its goal of becoming a developed country by 2020, climate change impacts on the country’s agricultural sector could prove devastating to its 20 million farmers as well as its economy, food security, and health.
The Columbia World Project (CWP): Adapting to Climate Today, for Tomorrow (ACToday)—funded by Columbia University and led by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)—seeks to address this risk in Vietnam and 5 other target countries. By enhancing the availability and effectiveness of climate information in national policy, planning, management, and other decisionmaking processes, ACToday aims to improve food security, nutrition, environmental sustainability, and economic outcomes in developing countries.
The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), which is already leading ongoing projects on agricultural research and climate services for farmers in Vietnam, is an ACToday partner. According to James Hansen, IRI Senior Research Scientist and leader of the CCAFS Flagship on Climate Services and Safety Nets, ongoing partnership with the IRI has enabled CCAFS to increase both demand- and supply-side capacity to deliver useful climate information and services tailored to farmers’ needs. CCAFS’ research on agriculture and food security in the face of climate change has enabled better understanding and practice of climate services for the agricultural sector from the demand side. Meanwhile, the IRI is a recognized expert on climate research and climate services from the supply side.
In addition to IRI and CCAFS, ACToday brings together a number of leading international partners, including: the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Center Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank, World Food Programme (WFP), and the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition & Health (A4NH), among others.
Acting today, for tomorrow in Vietnam
An ACToday planning workshop organized by IRI in Hanoi, Vietnam, at the beginning of the week gathered participants from the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Vietnam Department of Agriculture at the provencial level, Vietnam National Meteorological-Hydrological Administration (VNMHA), and Vietnam Institute for Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change (IMHEN). Dr. Nguyen Hong Son, President of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) and Director General of the Crop Production Department at MARD delivered the opening remarks. Project leaders the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), CIAT, and World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) also participated in the workshop.
The workshop, as well as additional meetings with Dr. Le Quoc Doanh, Vice Minister of MARD, and with relevant government agencies, allowed CCAFS, IRI, and partners to understand Vietnam's needs in terms of climate forecasts and tailored forecast products. This understanding then enabled ACToday partners to identify the most pressing, concrete, actionable activities for the project in Vietnam. Among these are downscaled seasonal to sub-seasonal forecasts and crop calendars, as well as improved climate data to enable the most accurate forecasts possible.
Representatives from IRI, CCAFS, and IRRI met with Dr. Le Quoc Doanh, Vice Minister of MARD during a visit to Vietnam in March 2018 to discuss the ACToday project. Photo: N. Ho (Vietnam MARD)
What IRI, CCAFS, and partners hope to achieve in Vietnam is grounded in previous successful collaborations like the Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture project, funded by USAID and implemented by CCAFS, and the Enhancing National Climate Services (ENACTS) approach developed and led by the IRI. The Rwanda project is helping the Rwanda Meteorological Agency (Meteo Rwanda) increase its capacity to provide climate information services and develop tools tailored to farmers' needs. Forecast information and climate tools are available online in the Meteo Rwanda Maproom developed by the IRI. Coupled with the enhanced and tailored forecast products are capacity building and trainings at both the national level where the information is produced and at the local level where the information is used.
Using the ENACTS approach, ACToday will work with Vietnam’s national meteorological administration and research entities to create new, quality-controlled data sets and improve their access and use. This first step would provide the foundation to support the current and upcoming climate services work by CCAFS and other partners in the country.