HA NOI — Insufficient human resources was a major challenge for Viet Nam in responding to climate change, said head of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry's Personnel and Organisation Department Ta Dinh Thi.
Thi said that although Viet Nam launched its first National Target Programme to respond to climate change in 2008, the biggest difficulty in its implementation lied in a shortage of staff specialising in the climate change-related sector at all levels.
Most staff working in the sector had been trained in other fields and were assigned to do other tasks at the same time.
At present, there are nearly 50,000 people working in administrative and research institutions belonging to the natural resources and environment sector, but more than half of them work in the land management sub-sector, with only 1 per cent focused on tackling climate change.
"Preparing human resources in the climate change sector is an urgent task, especially at local levels," said the deputy director of Viet Nam's Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment, Tran Hong Thai.
On average, each province needed at least 10 trained personnel, he said, adding that there was an absence of people who specialised in climate change management at the provincial level.
Thai said that roughly 700 districts and 9,000 communes also required staff that specialised in climate change.
He said that it took about 15 years to train an expert in climate change, including conducting research and accumulating experience. Meanwhile, developing human resources was a basic foundation to implementing tasks under the national target programme.
Professor Mai Trong Nhuan, director of the National University said that climate change was a multi-sectoral study, relating to fields including meteorology, hydrology, geology, biology and environment management, so it was necessary to mobilise joint efforts from lecturers and experts in different fields.
Short-term measures and training courses to improve public understanding had proved effective during the past.
Thi said that the ministry was developing human resources for the sector to meet the demand.
However, there are no universities in Viet Nam that run climate change courses, but is expected by 2015 that it will be part of the training programme.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved a national strategy to respond to climate change which also put human resource development as a priority.
Viet Nam is one of the five countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In the past 10 years, natural disasters have claimed the deaths of over 9,500 people each year. — VNS