Solutions for sustainable development of Mekong Delta in the context of climate change
The speakers proposed initiatives, solutions, and policies for a master plan to develop Mekong Delta, concentrating on agriculture, water resources management and sustainable energy transition.
Mekong Delta – the country’s fruit basket suffers from drought and saltwater intrusion (Photo: Vu Sinh/Vietnam News Agency)
On October 28 th, in Can Tho province, the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) organized the Forum on cooperation and sustainable development of Mekong Delta.
At the forum, speakers proposed initiatives, solutions, and policies for a master plan to develop Mekong Delta, concentrating on agriculture, water resources management and sustainable energy transition.
The contents which were analyzed including process of flood and drought in Mekong Delta for the past 20 years; challenges on agricultural production shifting trends in Mekong Delta in the context of climate change; equitable and sustainable energy transition…
In accordance with experts, it is not easy to find solution to adapt to climate change in Mekong Delta and it takes much time and expenses.
However, experts believe that there are still solutions minimizing impacts and gradually overcoming damages to Mekong Delta that can be done immediately.
For example, the limitation of underground water exploitation, economizing water; mangrove development; strengthening the connection between sub-regions and localities, between Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City and the key economic region in the South.
In addition, it is necessary to plan and develop sustainably Mekong Delta following the Resolution No. 120 of the Government on sustainable development of Mekong Delta adapting to climate change in which focusing on agricultural high-quality commodities with outstanding economic values of aquaculture – fruit trees – rice; develop diversified agricultural economy combining with the development of services, ecotourism and processing industries to raise value and competitiveness of agricultural products; give priority to the development of green technology, effectively exploit the potential development of renewable energy.
It is said that the Government has issued good orientations for the sustainable development of Mekong Delta, however, it is necessary to lead and connect stakeholders to create synergy, thereby maximizing advantages, and avoid wasting capital, resources as well as bring about the best outcomes.
When giving example for the impact of climate change to agriculture in Mekong Delta, Assoc.Prof. Le Anh Tuan, Research Institute of Climate Change, Can Tho University said that in 2020, Mekong Delta witnessed severe saline intrusion and salinity in the drought season.
For the past years, the annual average amount of saltwater of four-thousandths (4‰) from estuaries entered into the inner field only about 50km, however it has reached to 100km in 2020, which make a number of localities suffer heavy crop loss, and in some places like Ben Tre province, more than 90% of rice area was lost.
Therefore, the task of scientists and policy makers is to advise farmers the appropriate sowing and harvesting time to minimize damage caused by clime change; convert crop varieties and domestic animals for climate change adaptation; take measures to store water at the end of flood season and build salt water treatment plants to have more fresh water to ensure the sufficient supply of fresh water for daily life.
At the macro level, the State should have policies, sanctions to limit the massive exploitation ò groundwater; orientation to restore water absorption and storage capacity in the two largest low-lying areas in Mekong Delta which are Long Xuyen Quandrangle and Dong Thap Muoi.
In accordance with Dr. Cao Van Ha, Deputy Director of Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID), one of the solutions for Mekong Delta to develop sustainably, and adapt to limate change is sustainable and fair energy transition.
It is the transition from heavy dependence on fossil fuels to development and application of renewable energy (wind, solar...); every economic sector can participate fairly, in which encouraging private economic sectors in clean energy development, creating a competitive and transparent market.
In order to make this reality, in accordance with Dr. Ha, in addition to communication to raise people’s awareness about using renewable energy effectively, the State needs to issue policies to support the development of renewable energy such as incentives for investment capital and taxes, and land use right, acquisition of full generating capacity of renewable energy from power plants...
Dr. Dao Trong Tu, Director of Centre for sustainable development of water resources and climate change adaptation said that in order to develop Mekong Delta sustainably, it is necessary to adapt in the development strategy and services in addition to adaptation in agriculture.
Provinces need to focus on the application of scientific and technology advances such as big data, artificial intelligence, biotechnology together with the process of building and using common services and infrastructure such as smart urban areas, wastewater treatment system, biogas./.
Author: Anh Tuyet (Vietnam News Agency)