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Mekong Delta needs ecosystem-based solutions to climate change

Ecosystem-based solutions are vitally important for the Mekong Delta to adapt to climate change in the decades to come, speakers said at a seminar held in Can Tho over the weekend.

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A river bank erosion site in My Duc Dong commune of Cai Be district, the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang
Dr Le Anh Tuan of Can Tho University’s Research Institute for Climate Change, said that ecosystem-based solutions could reduce vulnerability and improve resilience to natural disasters and weather abnormalities. 

Climate-change measures must focus on conservation and restoration of ecosystems, as well as sustainable management and social benefits, he said.

Farmers in the delta have already improved their incomes through successful climate-change programmes, including conversion from rice-only cultivation models to sustainable models in which rice is cultivated in rotation with fish, shrimp, lotus, vegetables or fruit.

Many farmers who have received support from scientists and organisations have also focused on the processing of agricultural products as well as tourism development, Tuan said. 

In the context of globalisation, the Mekong Delta region has great potential for development but it is vulnerable to environmental changes, according to Dr Ha Thanh Toan, rector of Can Tho University.

“Climate change and rising sea levels are occurring more quickly than what was predicted, causing extreme weather phenomena, and affecting livelihoods. These require long-term solutions for the region’s sustainable development,” he added.

Last year, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed a resolution on sustainable development of the Mekong Delta as part of an effort to cope with climate change.

Under the resolution, by 2100, the region’s sustainability would be ensured with high-quality agriculture, eco-tourism, services, and industry, especially the processing industry.  The latter would increase the value and competitiveness of the area’s agricultural products.

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The infrastructure system of the delta would also be greatly improved by that time.

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By 2050, the Mekong Delta will aim to become a region with "moderately good development and a modern social organisation level", according to the resolution. 

By that time, the income per capita of the delta would be higher than the national average, while the proportion of ecological agriculture and high-quality applied agriculture would reach 80 percent.

Besides ensuring prosperity for local residents, sustainability would require the preservation of traditional and special cultural values, and protection of land and water, according to the resolution.

The resolution includes solutions such as newly established ecological sub-regions for agriculture and a master plan for sustainable development.

It instructs the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote sustainable and fair usage of the Mekong River and other river resources, especially among the six Mekong River basin countries.

The ministry plans to work with Mekong River development partners to increase their support for activities of the Mekong River Commission, and has asked the upper countries to join the commission soon.

The resolution also instructs the HCM City People’s Committee to create a cooperation programme among provinces in the Mekong Delta, HCM City and the Southeast region.

The National Assembly has been tasked to arrange the State budget to implement the missions and programmes mentioned in the Prime Minister’s resolution.
VNA

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