Delta Alliance supports Mekong Delta in Viet Nam taking the next step in safeguarding the delta’s values

At the Mekong Delta Forum, held in HCMC on 2nd and 3rd of February, Delta Alliance’s chairperson Mrs. Tineke Huizinga spoke on the importance of integrating sectoral interests and joint planning and financing. As Dutch minister for Water she supported the development of the Mekong Delta Plan that was presented in December 2013.

The forum was organised by the World Bank, Dutch and Australian governments to facilitate an open discussion about different resilient investments, Delta development objectives, and development trade-offs across sectors.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai of Viet Nam, Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, representatives from 13 provinces and cities of the delta and local and international experts were present at the forum. Hai praised the international community's effort in supporting Viet Nam's pursuit of sustainable development in the Mekong Delta, an area vulnerable to climate change and sea level rises.

"We give priority for sustainable development for this area. With its importance, the region should receive such special care," Hai said, adding that the Mekong Delta plays a strategic role in food security and sustainable development of the southern region and the country. The deputy prime minister praised the Dutch government's support in creating the Mekong Delta Plan, which contains a long-term vision and strategy for a safe, prosperous and sustainable delta.

The Mekong Delta, which includes only 20 percent of the country's population and 13 percent of its land area, contributes more than 50 percent of total rice production, 70 percent of fruit harvest, 90 percent of rice exports and 70 percent of seafood turnover.

Groundwater extraction causing land subsidence, climate change leading to sea level rise, salinity intrusion and flooding are all on the rise and coastal storms occasionally affect the Delta, Victoria KwaKwa, country director of World Bank Viet Nam said at the forum.

"The upstream development is altering the hydrology and sediment regime and impacting fish migration. Many of these are expected to be exacerbated in the future, as development pressures, investments and climate change intensifies," she said.

Mrs. Tineke Huizinga urged stakeholders world wide to take action in delta regions before large disasters happen. She stressed the importance of learning from other deltas and jointly filling in research gaps in delta knowledge and offered help of the Delta Alliance foundation to do so. For instance, the Delta Alliance derived delta research gaps from the comparative assessment of 14 world wide deltas and actively helps forming coalitions between research institutions. Mrs. Huizinga met with Mr. Duong Anh Duc, vice-rector, Prof. Le Quang Minh, coordinator of the Mekong Wing and Mr. Ho Long Phi, Director of the Center of Water Management and Climate Change of the Viet Nam National University as representatives of the Delta Alliance Mekong-Wing.

Delta Alliance Secretary
Thursday 12 February 2015
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