Another Effect of Climate Change: Child Labour


Climate change has been a major issue across the planet, significantly impacting the environment and international economies. But in Vietnam, a country listed as one of the five most vulnerable to climate change, the consequences extend beyond all that, as it also affects the future of the country — the children.

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The Impact on Vietnam

Vietnam was hit by 20 disasters last year, including droughts, saltwater intrusion, typhoons and tropical depressions that led to severe floods. To put this in perspective, 70 percent of Vietnamese people live in rural areas which do not have strong anti-disaster infrastructure and more than 40 percent of the country’s workforce is employed by the agriculture sector.

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According to Government data, 264 people were killed in disasters last year while nearly VND40 trillion (US$1.75 billion) of damage was caused, a five-fold increase from 2015 with thousands of houses and rice fields in rural areas destroyed.

The Impact on Children

Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and severe in Vietnam, and their impacts reach down to the youngest and most vulnerable in society. This was the major talking point at a conference held in Hanoi on Tuesday, a day after the World Day Against Child Labour.

“These disasters destroy livelihoods and so many children have no choice but to give up school to work for their families’ survival,” Chang-Hee Lee, director of International Labour Organization Vietnam, said at the conference.

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Lee also added that Vietnam needs to protect its children by providing monetary aid, training and community support groups.

Around 1.75 million children aged 5 to 17, or nearly 10 percent of the age group, are working physically intensive or unhealthy jobs according to figures published by the Ministry of Labour.

A Plan to End Child Labour

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued a national action plan for sustainable development last May which aims to end child labour in the country by 2025.

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Human Rights Watch stated that about 250 million children live in areas affected by armed conflict, and another 70 million are affected by natural disasters, which create conditions fueling child labour.

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