Social Vulnerability, Climate Change, and Ethnic Minority Com ...

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Abstract

Vietnam is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and impoverished ethnic minority groups in marginalized areas are more adversely affected. This article focuses on the Northern Mountainous Region (NMR) of Vietnam, which is the poorest region in the country. It employs a participatory case study approach in assessing the vulnerability of the three major ethnic minority groups in the region: (1) the Tay, (2) Dao, and (3) Hmong. The results show that each of the three groups is vulnerable to climate change in different ways. The Tay people are vulnerable to flooding, whereas the Hmong and Dao groups are vulnerable to droughts and cold snaps. This study provides valuable insights into the complex relationship between ethnicity and vulnerability. The vulnerability of specific communities in the study area to climate change impacts gets amplified due to their already existing vulnerabilities, which are accordingly determined by the complex links among culture, geography, poverty, marginalization, and the communities’ lack of access to resources and capital. This underscores the importance of looking beyond simplistic technical response measures; instead, policy and decision-makers need to address both climatic and non-climatic conditions, including the drivers of social vulnerability. Only through this amalgamation of approaches can planners develop measures that are flexible enough to incorporate and mitigate the existing and many “new” vulnerabilities emerging from rapidly evolving human–environment systems.