Can Tho, Vietnam, September 25, 2017
More than 500 participants, including officials and experts from Viet Nam and overseas, are expected to attend the two-day conference on the Mekong Delta’s sustainable development amid adaptation to climate change held in Can Tho beginning Sept. 26.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and two deputy prime ministers Vuong Dinh Hue and Trinh Dinh Dung will attend the event.
In an interview with the Government online news service, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha said that the upcoming conference would hopefully help the Government identify ways to reform agriculture in the Mekong Delta over the long term, looking towards 2100, and develop proactive measures to address “irreversible trends and changes in the natural environment.”
A severe drought and salinity invasion in the southern delta – the biggest rice-producing region in Viet Nam – last year gave the national agriculture sector a wake-up call on climate change’s threat to the region.
The record extreme weather affected 13 provinces in the region, causing water shortages for millions of people and caused the loss of some 800 trillion tonnes of rice.
The sediment the Mekong River constantly brings down to the delta – which is vital for its rice growing capability—decreased at a remarkably fast speed over a short time.
Statistics from the Mekong River Commission show that the river delivered up to 160 million tonnes of sediment to the delta in 1994, which was slashed by half to only about 75 million tonnes in 2014.
“In the time of climate change, the Mekong Delta is facing a survival challenge as its conventional development model is no longer suitable,” minister Ha said. “An unconnected planning and management policy, plus the impacts of climate change, gradually led to unsustainable development (of the region), making people’s lives insecure.”
Ha said Prime Minister Phuc requested that new ideas discussed at the upcoming conference are constructed with local residents playing the central role, to ensure stability in the lives of locals in the region.
The Government is expected to work on particular resolutions to realise new policies to be agreed at the conference.