The Implementation Gap: Environmental Rhetoric Versus Reality in Lao Cai, Vietnam

  • Gwenn PulliatEmail author
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


This study draws upon a case study of Lao Cai, a province recognized as one of the most important ecological regions in Vietnam, but also one of the most vulnerable to climate hazards. The province has recently adopted an action plan for climate change adaptation. However, the national authorities intend to promote Lao Cai as a major secondary city on the main route from China to Hanoi. In a context of rapid, strategic, state-driven urban development, I identify three main obstacles to effective implementation of environmental and climate change policies: (1) the pre-eminence of economic growth over any environmental goal, (2) the under-enforcement of existing regulations, and (3) a failure of environmental governance. Environmental risk management is mainly based on the reinforcement of defensive infrastructures (such as the river embankment) and the displacement of exposed people. These actions are likely inefficient in a context of increased major hazards that might put great pressure on displaced residents’ livelihoods. In other words, there is a wide gap between discourse and implementation.


Climate change adaptation policies Environmental governance Land use management Urban planning Population displacement Vietnam 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research), UMR Art-Dev, Université Paul ValéryMontpellier Cedex 5France
  2. 2.Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia Partnership, Munk School of Global AffairsAsian Institute, University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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