Promoting local initiatives – Strengthening multilateral cooperation
The forum on Cooperation and Sustainable Development of the Mekong Delta (Mekong Delta Forum) with the theme “Promoting Local Initiatives – Strengthening Multilateral Cooperation” was held in Hanoi and connected virtually with 13 provinces in the Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City on November 4 by Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) in cooperation with Delegation of European Union in Vietnam and Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID).
This is the VUSTA hosted annual event since 2019 and the 2021 Forum covers 3 main sessions. The first one on planning orientation – opportunities for sustainable development and prosperous of Mekong Delta and adaptation to climate change. Follow by announcing selected initiatives on energy adaptation to climate change. The last for roundtable discussion of strengthening multilateral cooperation and launching call for initiatives for 2022 Forum.
It is anticipated that 2021 forum is to share and update the implementation of the national strategies, planning schemes, programs and policies on sustainable development of the Mekong Delta region as well as gathering, seeking and replicating the science and technology initiatives, solutions and best practices in sustainable development of the Mekong Delta and adaptation to climate change.
According to EU Ambassador Giorgio Aliberti, the EU and Viet Nam are already making strong commitments at Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Changein Glasgow (United Kingdom). It is clear that the parallels with Viet Nam’s Mekong Delta, which faces huge challenges like land subsidence, coastal erosion, sea level rise, salinization, mangroves loss, and issues with water quality, river sand and ground water management. The economy and peoples’ livelihoods were also severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. This calls for strong collective action of all stakeholders for overcoming and recovering more sustainably. Team Europe, composed of the EU and its Member States, will continue providing substantial support for the sustainable development of the Mekong Delta of Viet Nam”.
This forum was held coincident with the COP 26 held from 31 October to 12 November 2021. Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has made strong commitments on Vietnam’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. The forum is a platform for scientists, experts to share and discuss on challenges and opportunities as well as to propose solutions to proactively fight climate change in Mekong Delta. This is a practical contribution to the target of greenhouse gas emissions reduction of Vietnam, and this also shows a proactive and responsible member to global climate commitments.
Dr. Sc Phan Xuân Dũng, VUSTA’s president delivers his opening speech
On his opening speech, VUSTA President Phan Xuân Dũng said that Mekong Delta has been identified as being particularly vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise, extreme climate events, and climate variability and directly affected to nearly 21,5 million people living in the region. COVID-19 pandemic and huge mobilization of labor and jobs have caused big challenges for Mekong Delta.
However, as the traditional legacy, Vietnamese people always manage to find opportunities in challenges and difficulties to turn around and break through, which is to promote the smart, industrious and hardworking human factor and unite to take advantage of the specific social-natural advantages of each residience.
However, being aware of the fact that chances often arise in difficulties, the experts and Mekong Delta residents took the specific natural and social advantages of each locality in innovation and science and technological application as well as changing mindset of the society, especially the participation of scientific and technological intellectuals and the support of international organizations to overcome challenges that Mekong Delta is facing. I believe that the huge potential of Resolution 120 to sustainable development of Mekong Delta will flourish if we use knowledge, science and technology, multilateral cooperation, human and internal resources integrated in the solutions.
Giorgio Aliberti,Ambassador of the European Union to Vietnam
Ms. Dương Thị Nga –Director General for International Cooperation Department, VUSTA
Speaking at the Forum, Giorgio Aliberti said that VUSTA’s Mekong Delta Forum is taking place at the same time the world gathers in Glasgow to participate in COP 26. This COP 26 places a dual challenge: to strengthen efforts to respond to climate change, while overcoming and recovering more sustainably after the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU and Vietnam are making strong commitments at COP 26. Vietnam's Mekong Delta, which faces enormous challenges such as land subsidence, coastal erosion, sea level rise, salinization, loss of mangroves and water quality management issues, riverbed sand and groundwater. The economy and people's livelihoods have also been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This calls for strong collective action by all stakeholders for more sustainable remediation and recovery. EU, comprising the EU and Member States, will continue to give significantly support for the sustainable development of Vietnam's Subregional Mekong Delta.
At the forum, delegates exchanged and gave opinions on the solutions of Vietnam's Mekong Delta challenges, such as urbanization, industrialization, climate change, salinization, sea level rise, floods and droughts…
In addtion, energy transition is also an indispensable factor to achieve SDGs and climate change adaptation of Vietnam in general and Mekong Delta region in particular. Mekong Delta has great advantages to implement these goals with abundant renewable energy. In order to turn advantages and potentials into reality, besides supporting policies at the national level, actions of each locality play a decisive role. With the spirit of creativity, each locality chooses for itself different actions and solutions to solve the problems in the suitable context of each province, thereby contributing to the sustainable development of the region.
Mekong Delta Forum’s overall objectives is to provide a platform for scientific and technological intellectuals of domestic and abroad, especially intelligentsia in provinces to share and update the implementation of the national strategies, planning schemes, programs and policies on sustainable development of the Mekong Delta region as well as synthesizing, seeking and replicating the initiatives, solutions and best practices in sustainable development of the Mekong Delta and adaptation to climate change.