GIS assessment of coastal vulnerability to climate change and coastal adaption planning in Vietnam

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Boateng, Isaac
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t Vietnam's coastal zone provides a diverse range of natural resources and favourable conditions for social and economic development. However, its coastal ecosystems are highly vulnerable, due to several natural coastal hazards, over-exploitation and other human activities. In spite of diverse interventions, Vietnam's coastal zone continues to experience signifi- cant damage from floods, erosion and typhoons. These hazards are being intensified by climate change and associated rising sea levels. This paper assesses the potential vulnerability of Vietnam's coast to climate change and discusses possible adaptation policies and plan to reduce the impacts. GIS analysis was used for the assessment of coastal vulnerability. Related literature was reviewed to develop detailed understanding of coastal adaptation to climate change. Adaptation policies and plans were appraised to identify potential coastal adaptation policies and plans that could be adapted by Vietnam. It was identified that vulnerability of the coastal zone of Vietnam could not be attributed only to climatic factors, but also to the physical condition of the coastline. Much of Vietnam's coastline, particularly, areas around the Red River delta and the Mekong River have elevations below 1 m. These coastlines are largely developed and serve as economic centres of the country, which makes the coast more vulnerable to climate change and the rising sea level. The paper concluded I. Boateng (El) School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, University of Portsmouth, Portland Building, Portland Street, Portsmouth POI 3AH, United Kingdom e-mail: that a non-structural approach (coastal buffer zones, building houses on stilts, storm warning systems, growing of flood-resistant crops and elevated storm shelters with medicine and food storage) could be used by Vietnam to adapt her low-lying coastline around the two deltas to climate change as this strategy enables vulnerable areas to be occupied for longer before eventual retreat. However, for these policies to be successful, it should be planned, implemented well in advance, monitored and evaluated o
Boateng, I. (2012). GIS assessment of coastal vulnerability to climate change and coastal adaption planning in Vietnam. Journal of Coastal Conservation, 16(1), 25-36.