To adapt to climate change, Mekong Delta provinces must unite: Deputy
Tourists visit the Cà Mau southern most province. Deputy Prime
Minister Vương Đình Huệ urged local governments to perform better
administration reforms to attract more investment to the Mekong Delta. –
HẬU GIANG –Politburo Member, Chairman of Southwestern Steering Committee and
Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ urged local governments to perform
better administration reforms to attract more investment to the Mekong Delta.
Deputy PM Huệ spoke during the opening speech for the 9thMekong
Delta Economic Develoment Forum, on the theme “Mekong Delta – Active
Integration and Sustainable Development” last night in Vị Thanh City, Hậu
He praised several policies have been brought to life, stimulating
the delta’s development after previous forums where local officials,
scientists and entrepreneurs suggested the delta’s sustainable development
amid climate change challenges.
Connectivity between provinces in the delta and with other localities
in the country has been improved. Forum participants should discuss how the
Delta can be proactive in global integration and work closely with other
countries since Việt Nam has great opportunities and challenges in the
integration period, Huệ suggested.
“Mekong Delta faces serious losses from climate change and sea level
rises and salt water intrusion. People in the delta have deployed various
solutions to adapt with climate change and prepare for global economic
integration,” he said.
Connectivity between localities, sectors and people is key for a
sustainable livelihood of inhabitants in Mekong Delta under the threat of
climate change, said Huệ, reminding Việt Nam of its membership of the
At the opening speech, Huệ announced that the World Bank and the
State Bank of Việt Nam yesterday signed an agreement in Cần Thơ City on a
US$560-million loan package for sustainable development of the Mekong Delta,
adapting to climate change.
At the forum, major issues
related to climate change and sea level rises, such as drought and salinity
intrusion, are also being discussed, along with technology applications in
agriculture and assistance to local enterprises and farmers.
At the end of the week, the
forum’s participants plan to issue a joint statement, with suggestions on
solutions for the region’s development. It will be sent to the Prime Minister
“Climate change is no longer
an abstract warning, but is directly threatening the delta’s sustainable
development,” said Sơn Minh Thắng, deputy chairman of the Southwestern
Steering Committee, a central group that oversees the Delta’s 13 provinces
With recent events like the
historic drought, the worst in 90 years, along with saline intrusion, the
need to improve linkages among provinces as well as with other regional
countries is more important than ever, Thắng said, adding that Mekong Delta
has advantage, but it faces much challenge.
With 1.5 million hectares of
land for paddy cultivation, the Mekong Delta plays a key role in the
country’s food security goals. It produces 50 per cent of food, 70 per cent
of seafood exports, and 90 per cent of rice exports of the country’s total.
It has 700 kilometres of
coastline with picturesque beaches and three biosphere reserves recognised as
international Ramsar sites, a rich resource for tourism development.
As of June 2016, the delta
had attracted 1,348 foreign direct investment projects with total registered
capital of US$20 billion, contributing seven per cent of the country’s FDI,
according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
During the first six months
of the year, the region received investment from 80 large projects in various
sectors, including power, infrastructure, shoes and paper.
Before this year, total
foreign direct investment in the region accounted for only 5 per cent of the
FDI in the country, but the rate is now seven per cent, indicating that new
roads and bridges between the Delta and HCM City have shortened travel times
and attracted more investors.
Though the Delta has a large
labour force and abundant raw materials, its economic growth has yet to meet
its potential, as regional linkages remain weak. It also lacks quality
agricultural raw materials to export, and has inadequate infrastructure.
To take advantage of the
upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, officials, experts and
entrepreneurs at the forum will suggest solutions to increase the value of the
Other events at the forum
include seminars on credit, integration and sustainable development, ways to
control drought and salinity, and storage of fresh water for business
production and residential use.
The Mekong Delta, one of the richest deltas in South East Asia also
contributes 55 percent of paddy output, 60 percent of seafood, 70 percent of
fruits and 90 percent of the exported rice of Việt Nam.
The region contributes 20 per cent of the country’s GDP. -VNS