El Foro Mekong Delta da impulso a una acción coordinada para luchar contra el cambio climático y aumentar la prosperidad compartida

El Foro Mekong Delta 2015 se ha inaugurado hoy para buscar nuevas soluciones a los retos del desarrollo actual y el cambio climático en la región. El Foro está organizado por el Ministerio de Recursos Naturales y Medio Ambiente, el Ministerio de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural, el Comité de Dirección del Sudoeste, en colaboración con el Banco Mundial, la Embajada Australiana y la Embajada de Holanda.

Present at the Forum were Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Minh Quang, and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat, as well as the vice-chairmen from Provincial Peoples Committees (PPCs) from the 13 Mekong Delta provinces. Also present were high-level representatives from different development partners like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, the governments of Australia, Netherlands, Japan, Germany, and other organizations such as IUCN, and IFAD.

Speaking at the Forum, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai noted the importance of the delta in the development of the whole southern region of Viet Nam and of the country as a whole. “However, the region is facing enormous challenges related to water resources, salinization and other negative impacts of climate change.” Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai added. “Recognizing these challenges, the Government has been instructing and implementing the integration of climate change adaptation activities in socio-economic plans. The Mekong Delta region receives special attention from the Government, and we have high political will and prioritized investments for the integrated and sustainable development of this region, towards a better future for this rich but vulnerable land.”

The Australian Ambassador said of the Forum “All participants here have a shared interest in seeing Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region continue to develop sustainably.” He said “In addition to ensuring the sustainable socio-economic development of the Delta, a strong, prosperous and confident region is good for the people of Vietnam, good for the region and good for the world.”

The Forum followed an innovative interactive format, using break-out groups with provincial participants from departments of natural resources and environment (DONREs), agriculture and rural development (DARDs) and planning and investment (DPIs) to discuss and debate the issues, challenges, and proposed solutions for three key sub-regions in the Delta.

The Forum followed an innovative interactive format, using break-out groups with provincial participants from departments of natural resources and environment (DONREs), agriculture and rural development (DARDs) and planning and investment (DPIs) to discuss and debate the issues, challenges, and proposed solutions for three key sub-regions in the Delta.

“There has never been a time when the Mekong Delta faces so many challenges, including the negative impacts of climate change and sea level rise, as well as pressure from unsustainable socio-economic development,” according to Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Minh Quang. “The future is uncertain. We cannot have a “hard” vision for this region while both internal and external factors are affecting the region’s development. We need a roadmap with different scenarios for the region’s development, including projected impacts from climate change and upstream development plan, which will help us choose the most resilient development pathway for the Delta region.

At the Forum, delegates also discussed the challenges facing communities and associated livelihoods of agriculture and aquaculture that are the mainstay of the region’s economy. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat highlighted the degradation of coastal lands and agricultural yields from saline intrusion, and flooding, and pointed to the need for tapping into the economic potential of agriculture and aquaculture.

“For sustainable development of agriculture, the Mekong Delta region needs to address these challenges through agriculture restructuring together with the development of new rural areas in a climate-smart and multi-sectoral approach.” The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said. “The region’s agriculture should move toward producing highly competitive and sustainable products with higher quality and value, based on the promotion of the region’s strength of rice, shrimp, catfish and fruits.”

The Forum included sessions on learning lessons from other Delta systems –from Bangladesh, to the Netherlands, to Mississippi, Niger, and Murray Darling deltas. Speaking from her experience during her tenure in the Netherlands government, Ms. Tineke Huizinga, former Minister for Housing, Spatial Planning, and the Environment said: “Along our coast we use the rule ‘soft solutions where we can, hard solutions where we must’ opting for non-structural measures wherever possible. It is critical to engage stakeholders in finding optimal solutions, and making the decision-making a bottom-up process.”

The two day Forum discussed the main principles outlined in the Mekong Delta Plan, which articulated a vision for the integrated development of the Mekong Delta. The breakout-sessions worked well to help participants to move the agenda from identifying the key challenges to discussion strategies on what to do next, and why and when.

“How we can move from a shared framework of general recommendations that to more specific concrete actions requires three critical elements,” suggested Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank Country Director to Vietnam. “The first is to strengthen and improve the institutional mechanisms that enable interprovincial and intersectoral coordination needed for the Mekong Delta.  The second is to identify low-regret investments, and relevant climate-smart policies, that are in line with the Mekong Delta Plan recommendations. The third is to proactively mobilize resources to establish a financing mechanism for the Mekong Delta, which enables and promotes strategic investment in the face of development and climate change.”

The Mekong Delta Forum aims to deepen understanding of the integrated framework for building the Delta’s resilience, demonstrate through case studies the typical trade-offs involved and how to make integrated and long-term decisions through multisectoral collaboration. More than 200 delegates from the central government, provincial authorities, academic institutions, research agencies, embassies and international organizations attended the Forum.

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