“Vietnam will work with other countries to develop its river basins and deltas in a sustainable way”, said Vice Minister of natural resources and environment Nguyen Thai Lai, addressing his key note to the Deltas2013 conference in Ho Chi Minh City on 20 May.
One of these countries is the Netherlands. For several years the Dutch and Vietnamese governments are working on a Vietnamese version of a long term climate adaptation policy as is now being implemented in the Netherlands.
This long-term integrated vision for the Mekong delta was a main topic during one of the first sessions of the conference. On behalf of the Mekong Delta Consortium professor Marcel Stive of the Technical University of Delft reflected on the Vietnamese-Dutch cooperation so far.
Dealing with many uncertainties
“In July we expect to complete the first version of the Mekong Delta Plan but a plan in itself is not enough,” said Stive. “The plan is based on future scenarios with many variables such as climate change, business and rural developments, demographical changes. Scenarios include many uncertainties and for a plan to be still reliable over ten years, it needs to be revised continuously. Measures have to be adjusted or be implemented more quickly.”
Adjustments when new knowledge emerges
Professor Stive: “The Vietnamese authorities are now adopting this way of thinking. In the Netherlands we have a 800-years history of flood risk reduction and our policy making is based on a large knowledge of our water system. For Vietnam this is less obvious. Here they have a tradition of a five year planning cycle. It requires a mind shift to think in terms of a long term plan and adjust it whenever new knowledge emerges”.
Following the presentation of the first version of the Mekong Delta Plan, the Dutch experts will assist Vietnamese ministries in involving non-governmental organisations and stakeholders.
About Deltas2013 dialogues II
The DELTAS2013-World Delta Dialogues II Conference takes place in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from 19 -23 May. The conference is organised by America’s Wetland Foundation and supported by the governments of the Vietnam, the Unites States of America and the Netherlands.
Working groups within the conference will promote global collaboration among deltaic regions with the goal of arriving at a “Communiqué of Cooperation,” identifying priority issues, challenges and solutions.
In 2010 the first World Delta Dialogues Conference took place in New Orleans.
(all photo’s by America’s Wetland Foundation)
Deltas2013 conference, Ho Chi Minh City, 19-23 May 2013