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$1.9bn proposed to help Vietnam’s Mekong Delta cope with climate change

Wednesday, June 19, 2019, 15:23 GMT+7
$1.9bn proposed to help Vietnam’s Mekong Delta cope with climate change
Trees are planted to cope with coastal erosion in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu. Photo: Chi Quoc / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment is expected to propose pouring an additional investment worth VND45 trillion (US$1.9 billion) into ongoing efforts to boost development in the Mekong Delta and to help the region cope with climate change.

The financial assistance will be spent over the next five years, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said during a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday.

Chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the conference was aimed at reviewing the two-year implementation of the government’s Resolution No.120 on climate-resilient and sustainable development of the Mekong Delta region.  

According to Minster Dung, half of the proposed additional investment of VND45 trillion will be funded by the national budget, with the other half by other sources.

“Special policies will be implemented so that the money will be promptly spent on infrastructure projects that are crucial to the region’s development and ability to cope with climate change,” the official elaborated.

The Mekong Delta, which consists of 12 southern provinces and Can Tho City, makes up 19 percent of Vietnam’s population and contributes up to 50 percent of the national rice output.

The region, however, is facing a number of challenges posed by climate change, especially rising sea level.

The conference in Ho Chi Minh City on June 18, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

The conference in Ho Chi Minh City on June 18, 2019. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Speaking at the conference, PM Phuc noted that the goal is “not to fight against climate change but to conquer and adapt to it,” turning challenges into opportunities and striving to achieve sustainable production.

He requested that relevant ministries and sectors work with Mekong Delta localities to come up with a suitable plan to boost cultivation and aquaculture, build a production ecosystem, and cut costs for businesses. 

The lack of capital in the Mekong Delta is the bottleneck in the implementation of infrastructure and climate change adaptation projects, the premier continued.

He ordered the State Bank of Vietnam to establish a mechanism to mobilize capital from various sources to settle the issue.

According to Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha, the Mekong Delta’s GDP growth rate recorded a four-year high of 7.8 percent in 2018, thanks to changes brought about by Resolution No.120.

To intensify the effectiveness of the resolution, focus must be directed on key tasks including the development of major projects and multi-purpose infrastructure, Ha continued.

The region also needs to boost farm produce quality and devise mechanisms to attract investments, improve vocational training, and develop high-quality human resources, he added.

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