Climate change is a crucial issue in Trung Huu Nguyen’s home country of Vietnam, particularly its coastal cities. But, says the 2017 IDRC Research Award Recipient, most of the research on climate change perceptions focuses on rural farmers and overlooks urban residents.
“Perceptions of climate change are important because they influence behaviours and response, and contribute to informed policy decisions,” says Nguyen. Working in the coastal cities of Hoi An and Nha Trang, he found that residents not only recognized impacts of climate change such as extreme heat and flooding, but had adapted in various ways, including diversifying their income-generation activities.
As Nguyen’s earlier experiences and education focused on rural communities and livelihoods, his fieldwork allowed him to gain better insight into the impacts of climate change on urban residents who depend on tourism. For them, it could mean a better and longer business season, he says.
To enable residents to adapt to future changes, he concluded that greater efforts should be made to inform them of predicted impacts and incorporate their concerns into urban and climate policies.
Working at IDRC was Nguyen’s “first professional experience abroad,” which allowed him to develop professional networks and hone his analytical skills, including in gender analysis. “It was an excellent opportunity to enhance my knowledge and skills for research on climate change impacts and adaptation strategies to reduce climate risk,” he says.
Nguyen also credits the research award with broadening his view of research for development. “Before IDRC, I worked mainly for development programs and projects insofar as they contributed to the goals of the projects, rather than global perspectives,” he says. At IDRC, he learned that programs can contribute to broader development goals.