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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc: Transform Challenges into Opportunities

(11:09:13 AM, 28/09/2017)

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc spoke at plenary session

On September 27th, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chaired the plenary session of the Conference on Sustainable and Climate-resilient Development of the Mekong Delta.

* A resolution on the Mekong Delta adaptation to climate change to be available

Speaking at the conference, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc appreciated the symposiums that took place on September 26th. Accordingly, the participants discussed frankly, consult basic ideas for the development of the Mekong Delta in severeclimate change conditions.

Despite facing many challenges, the Prime Minister is optimistic about the future of this land, with the determination to transform challenges into opportunities. Vision of the Government and the Prime Minister is building sustainable development of the Mekong Delta,improving people's lives, etc...

 The PM also raised four major challenges for the Mekong Delta, including climate change and sea level rise that has hit the delta the hardest over the last 100 years here; the exploitation of water resources on the upstreanm of the delta, in which the transfer of Mekong River to other river basins is also a big risk for this area.

The intense economic activities of human beings have caused a lot of damage and consequences, resulting in large subsidence at high speed and increasing severity, environmental degradation due to water and air pollution, severely devastated mangrove forests. In addition, the quality of human resources is also a challenge because the Mekong Delta is a low-lying area for education and training, application of science and technology, mechanization and infrastructure incompatible with its potential. "The aforementioned challenges are not a forecast, they exist and should be perceived and processed in a dialectical way without being separated,"- said the Prime Minister.

Regarding the new vision of the area which were discussed at the conference, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that the Mekong Delta is not only the largest granary of Vietnam but must be a smart, sustainable and valuable agricultural economy with high value added in the region and wider in Asia in the future.

"The Mekong Delta needs to be transformed in three directions: To create sustainable and prosperous development on the basis of proactive adaptation, the ability to transform challenges into opportunities, ensuring stable and well-being of the people as well as preserving the traditional cultural values of the region; to change the thinking of development to move from pure agriculturewith mainly rice production to agricultural economics, change from quantity to quality, linking to the value chain from chemical agricultural production to organic and high tech agriculture; to attach importance to the processing industry and supporting industries associated with the development of agricultural economy... ", Prime Minister emphasized.

The head of the Government also said that it is necessary to respect the law of nature, select models of natural adaptation, avoid rough intervention in nature; sustainable development should follow the guideline of living with flood, with saltwater, with drought, with water shortage in line with practical conditions. It is necessary to identify climate change and sea level rise as indispensable trend, to live together and adapt, to turn challenges into opportunities. Again, we reiterate our view to be proactive in living with floods, with saltwater, with water shortage as Israel has done. In addition, it is also important to consider brackish water as a resource. "The view of the Government, of the Communist Party of Vietnam is that development to serve the people is the most important. And with a spirit of reducing the gap between the rich and the poor, let no one be left behind, "the prime minister emphasized.

* Focus resources for the Mekong Delta

The Prime Minister urged that the Mekong Delta Development Fund should be studied with a lot of resources, especially budget. From now to 2020, disbursement of at least $US 1 billion will be made to construct the system of culverts, regulators of Cai Lon and Cai Be rivers of Kien Giang province to prevent saltwater intrusion, Tra Su and Tha La sluices of An Giang province to regulate floods with some serious erosion, directly affects the homes of the people, "- said the Prime minister.

The PM called for strengthening international cooperation,developing national database on Mekong Delta to adapt to climate change and sustainable livelihoods. Studying the development of Adaptative Plain Program as a general project with a long-term goal of keeping the Mekong Delta safe in the long run and transfering it to an attractive place to live and work, even with drought land policy in this area.

"At least every two years, the Government will open a large-scale Mekong Delta Forum as today conference to discuss and propose concrete solutions to the Mekong Delta development”. Annually, we must review what said to see what has been done, what will be done and what should be done to develop the Mekong Delta to cope with climate change and sustainable development, "- Prime Minister stressed.

Right after the conference, the Prime Minister assigned MONRE to chair and coordinate with the Government Office to quickly absorb and synthesize opinions of localities and delegates and immediately draft the Government Resolution on Mekong Delta Sustainable Development and Adaptation to climate change for discussion at the regular government meeting in September.

Viet Hung - Hai Ngoc