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Long-term strategy for the Mekong River Delta (MRD):Natural development

(02:53:45 PM, 05/10/2017)

MRD needs to develop in accordance with nature

The Conference on Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Delta Adaptation to Climate Change (from September 26th to 27th, 2017 in Can Tho) held by the Prime Minister, two Deputy Prime Ministers, many Ministers and nearly 700 experts, managers, scientists has outlined a new vision to adapt to climate change. But how could those strategies be implemented?

* Consistent with nature

It is one of three major perspectives that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has emphasized at this conference. Besides, there are opinions to create sustainable development and prosperity on the basis of stable life of the people; to maintain traditional cultural values and changethe mindset on agricultural economy from quantity to quality linked to the chain of values, to focus on processing and supporting industries.

Why must we follow the nature? Becausethe way against the law of nature is often ineffective and the later costs are very expensive.

From this perspective, Vietnam has identified climate change and sea level rise as indispensable trends that we have to adapt with to turn challenges into opportunities. For adaptation, the experts said that the MRD people should continue to actively living with the flood together with salinity and water shortage.

Therefore, it is necessary to consider water resources as the core factor and central basis for strategy and development planning. Water resources must be comprehensively managed in the basin as a whole. In addition to the fresh water resource, brackish water and saltwater should also be considered as a source of resource.

Moreover, the management and efficient use of water and land resources together with other resources should bestrengthenedin the area. At the same time, attention should be paid to the development of the coastal zone, the exclusive economic zone and the geo-political position of the delta, the application of new experiences and technologies, the recovery of natural disasters and the response to natural disasters.

 Transformation of the development model should also be based on ecosystems to ensure the harmony of natural conditions including land, water, diversity in biology and culture, people, inheritance of indigenous knowledge, in accordance with natural laws; ensuring the stability and livelihood of the people, particularly the people and the enterprises must be at the center, the State plays the role of leading;applying scientific and technological achievements, especially the advantages of Vietnam in the 4th industrial revolution.

The transition needs a long-term vision for not only prioritizing the adaptation to climate change but also taking advantage of opportunities to developa low carbon and green economy together with protection of natural ecosystems.

* Finding a solution

The lifestyle consistent with nature has actually existed with the Vietnamese for thousands of years. The people have to rely on nature to live andreceive “heaven gifts”. At the time when the industry developed too fast, the people thought they could controllnature but it only brought the advantages temporarily. In the long run, it must be consistent with nature but under a modern way.

Dr. Duong Van Ni, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Can Tho University said that the competitive economy must focus on quality in a globalized context. The quality is the harmony between nature and people in order to make the product. For such a long time, people have spoken “Can Tho has white rice and pure water”, which is a folk brand. But it must be understood that people shaped the areas of commodity production which could not be mistaken elsewherehundreds of years ago. It is the most unique characteristic of the MRD.

Therefore, it is not advisable to plan rigidly cultivated areas, which should be consistent with nature. It means choosing the qualified areas to be designated for cultivating a specialty. Therefore, this specialty can have the value for global competition.

Prof. Vo Tong Xuan suggested that Vietnam must use effectively and reasonably what it possessed instead ofpassively waiting for the upstream countries. Varieties of plants and animals must be selected suitably for each water source (brackish, fresh and salt water); drastically removing the limit of agricultural area, promoting consolidation of land plots, attracting businesses to invest in agriculture...

The MRD has 13 provinces. However, in order to adapt to climate change, the vastness of a large delta must be under consideration. As a leading solution, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc assigned the Ministry of Planning and Investment to complete the sustainable development planning for MRDwith adaptation to climate change. “New planning must be made to shift from passively living with floods to actively living with floods and salinity; saving and efficiently usingfresh water, brackish water and salt water. MRD development planning must also include offshore areas. Every program and project has to be considered the pros and cons on all three aspects of economy, society and environment”, the Prime Minister said.

Bao Chau