IOM Training Manual Helps Vietnamese Authorities Plan Relocation of Communities Displaced by Environmental and Climate Change

Migration and Climate Change

Ho Chi Minh City —Viet Nam experiences frequent natural hazards including typhoons, flooding and landslides. These are expected to increase with environmental and climate change. Planned relocation – an adaptive strategy to respond to physical and economic impacts of environmental changes – is the permanent, voluntary migration of people to a new location with the support of government policy or projects, which includes the reconstruction of communities’ infrastructure, services, housing and livelihoods at their destination.

Where in situ adaptation is not possible, well-planned relocation can help to increase resilience and reduce disaster risk, and can support improved quality of life in rural areas, according to a new training manual  for provincial and local authorities, published in English and Vietnamese by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in Viet Nam.

Planned Relocation for Communities in the Context of Environmental Change and Climate Change provides guidance for provincial and local-level leaders on the planning and implementation of relocation projects in the context of environmental change.

The manual identifies key concepts surrounding the complex issues of migration, environment and climate change, as well as practical tools and guidelines for application in a local context. It provides a community empowerment approach to planning and implementing relocation programmes at provincial and local levels. 

The manual draws on the Hoa Binh Relocation Project, which began in 2010 and aims to relocate 1,200 households from two remote communes in Viet Nam’s Northwest region that face high risks of landslides, flooding and storm damage. To date, over 246 households have moved to relocation sites.

IOM and the Institute of Sociology, Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences, recently released a study report that assesses project implementation, household decision-making processes and relocation outcomes for 406 households within the scope of the project, including those who have relocated, those who wish to move, and those who have chosen to remain or are undecided.

Findings from the study demonstrate the potential for relocation to contribute to improved quality of life and new opportunities for relocated communities, with existing policy providing important support that can help relocated households transition successfully to new, safer locations.

But the implementation of the current project demonstrates the complex nature of household decisions on relocation and the practical challenges encountered in supporting households to address the multiple factors which impact relocation outcomes.

“Planned relocation, and migration in general, are possible responses to environmental change, which can increase households’ resilience to slow onset and rapid onset disasters,” said Paul Priest, IOM Viet Nam Head of Programme.

“But they can be complex and are probably best when safe in situ adaptation or other options are not feasible. They also need to be planned, designed, implemented and monitored with full community participation. We hope that this training manual will help building the capacity of provincial and local authorities who are directly involved in this complex undertaking, and contribute to achieving that aim,” Priest added.

For more information please contact David Knight at IOM Viet Nam, Tel: +8424 3850 1810, Email:

  • A researcher interviews a re-located family. Photo: IOM