The symposium saw the participation of researchers, activists, representatives of international development partners and Vietnamese government officials at the central and provincial levels, including those from the country’s five Red River Delta provinces namely Haiphong, Quang Ninh, Thai Binh, Nam Dinh and Ninh Binh.
At the symposium, representatives of the five provinces, shared their provincial climate change action plans, which the US Agency for International Development's (USAID’s) Vietnam Forests and Deltas programme has helped them update after the first symposium.
The consultant team then presented three proposals for interprovincial cooperation in response to climate change, namely strengthening mangrove forest ecosystems, agricultural development in response to climate change, and increasing the capacity to manage the water of the Red River and the Thai Binh River.
“The symposium is the first step for the government, non-government organisations, the private sector and farmers to cooperate better to solve problems caused by climate change in the Red River Delta,” said Le Quoc Doanh, Deputy Minister of Agriculture.
According to Ted Osius, US Ambassador to Vietnam, Vietnam is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to impacts of climate change, and the Red River Delta is particularly at risk.
Currently the active cooperation programmes in the region include the Vietnam Forests and Deltas Programme, the Halong Bay-Cat Ba Alliance, the Red River Delta Adaptation and Youth programme, and US Sister Cities Disaster Preparedness initiative, all managed through USAID.
“The US also welcomes any opportunity to collaborate with other development partners and donors to assist the Red River Delta in responding to climate change,” said Osius.
The Red River Delta is particularly at risk to the impacts of climate change but often receives less attention than the Mekong Delta. According to estimates by the World Bank, if the sea level rises by one metre, 11 per cent of the area of the Red River Delta would be submerged.
The first Red River Delta Symposium, organised in 2014 in Nam Dinh, offered the five coastal provinces the first-time opportunity to discuss the common challenges they faced and the need for coordinated responses at the delta level.