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The Hanoitimes – On February 29, at the meeting with Chairman of the city’s People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong, Dutch Ambassador Nienke Trooster made a promise that the Netherlands is ready to share its experience in countering severe saltwater intrusion with Vietnam when the official voiced concern about challenges posed by climate change and salinity intrusion to Vietnam.
Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong (R) and Dutch Ambassador Nienke Trooster
Recent reports show that salt water has intruded deep into the Mekong Delta and damaged vast areas of rice crop. Water sources for production and daily activities in HCM City are also being affected by rising salinity. At the meeting, both sides also expressed their hope that beyond climate change adaptation, HCM City and Dutch localities will strengthen economic, educational and tourism ties in the near future.
The Government considers the prevention of drought and saltwater intrusion its urgent task, said deputy head of the Government Office Nguyen Khac Dinh at the regular Cabinet press conference on February 29. According to Dinh, since last October, the Government has organised a lot of seminars on the issues and had direct instructions for localities that suffered losses. Dinh suggested localities build dykes to prevent saltwater intrusion and dig wells and canals for water. Adjusting the crop structure is a must, he added.
The official said at the press conference that due to impacts of El Nino, the south central and Central Highlands regions had to grapple with high temperatures and water shortages that affected 40,000 hectares of rice, 122,000 hectares of other crops and the daily lives of tens of thousands of local households in 2015.
Experienced Dutch specialists are joining their Vietnamese peers at a two-day conference in Can Tho city to outline solutions and build plans to adapt the Mekong Delta to climate change. They are set to give an insight into the Mekong Delta Plan (MDP) and the Netherlands’s experience, discuss ways to apply those experience in the Mekong Delta and make recommendations on dealing with related issues.
If the sea level rises by one metre and Vietnam lacks proper responsive solutions, 40 percent of the Mekong Delta’s area will be flooded by the end of this century, directly affecting nearly 55 percent of the region’s population. The Mekong Delta Plan (MDP) was designed within the strategic partnership on climate change response and water management between the Vietnamese and Dutch Governments. It focuses on climate change adaptation, enhancement of the Mekong Delta’s resilience and promotion of local residents’ livelihoods.
Dutch Ambassador to Vietnam Catharina Nienke Trooster said the Netherlands is experienced in coping with climate change, and learning from such expertise is important to making development plans for Vietnam. She underlined the close cooperation between Vietnam and her country in climate change response and water management. Deltas with great biodiversity have significant influence on agricultural production countries like Vietnam. The Netherlands’s experience in preventing land from sinking into the sea is applicable to the Southeast Asian nation, she added.
The government of the Netherlands will support Vietnam’s strategy on sustainable socio-economic development in the Mekong Delta region, which is facing the critical impact of climate change, said speakers at a conference held by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Dutch Embassy in Vietnam.
According to experts from the Netherlands , the master plan will help heads of ministries, agencies and localities create a comprehensive view on long-term solutions such as infrastructure investment, natural resources protection and management, and budget allocation.