Uban Climate Change Resilience Experience in Mekong Delta Region

Vietnam will be among 5 countries most seriously impacted by climate change, while the Mekong Delta region in Vietnam will be one of three regions  likely to be the most severely flooded in the world.

On August 30, the People’s Committee of Can Tho City (Can Tho PC), and the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition (ISET) organized the workshop on sharing experience in building climate change resilience in the Mekong Delta region in Can Tho city.

The workshop overview (Photo: Thanh Liem/TTXVN)

The workshop overview (Photo: Thanh Liem/TTXVN)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the workshop, ISET representatives shared their experience in the Rockefeller Foundation-funded Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) program in 10 cities in four Asian countries including India, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. In Vietnam, the ACCCRN program was carried out in some cities/provinces in the Mekong Delta region with the participation of institutes, and universities in the region.

Surveys show that Vietnam is among five countries likely to be most seriously impacted by climate change. Mekong Delta region in Vietnam will be one of three regions likely to be the most severely flooded in the world.

Climate change manifested in weather phenomena such as droughts, saline intrusion, tornadoes, high rise in atmospheric temperature, coupled with land subsidence, and riverbank erosion are increasingly affecting the life of people.

In the long run, climate change will cause increase in migration from rural to urban areas for job seeking, putting more pressure on the urban places.

Ms. Ngo Thi Le Mai, the country coordinator of ISET in Vietnam, said that the ACCCRN program aims at strengthening understanding and assisting urban places in building climate change resilience. In Vietnam, three cities selected to implement the ACCCRN program are Can Tho, Quy Nhon and Da Nang.

Specifically, the ACCCRN program have brought about new approaches and tools and assisted these three cities to build climate change resilience through various projects such as the riverbank erosion management in Can Tho, the flood risk reduction in Quy Nhon, the storm-resistant housing in Da Nang, or the dengue fever prevention in the context of climate change in Can Tho, just to name a few.

During the project implementation, different stakeholders and local community have been involved, making assessment of the project issues more comprehensive and suitable to urban backgrounds.

Mr. Dao Anh Dung, Vice President of Can Tho PC delivered a speech at the workshop. (Photo: Thanh Liem/TTXVN)

Mr. Dao Anh Dung, the Vice President of Can Tho PC delivered a speech at the workshop. (Photo: Thanh Liem/TTXVN)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Nguyen Hieu Trung, the Vice Head of the Research Institute for Climate Change, Can Tho University, shared that annual flood patterns in the Mekong Delta region have now changed due to climate change and construction in the upstream Mekong Delta.

Reduced flows in dry season coupled with tides from the East Sea and the region west of the sea have exacerbated saline intrusion as experienced recently. In addition, other factors affecting quality of water such as alluvium, alum, and salinity have also fluctuated unforeseeably.

Upstream flood control have narrowed the currents, reducing water storing spaces which leads to swifter currents, resulting in riverbank erosion and dyke breach downstream. Furthermore, urban construction have caused local waterlogging due to water unable to absorb deeply into land, damaging infrastructure and affecting the life of people.

For this reason, the Mekong Delta needs to have a new vision, in terms of urban planning and management, to adapt to climate change. Specifically, it is necessary to create floodplains along the main rivers, canals, and conserved regions.

In these places, residential settlement should be avoided, instead, creating ecological zones, and aquaculture areas in combination with landscape formation and tourism development. Additionally, the green urban model with plenty of advantages that has been applied in many countries in the world needs to be studied and applied for the region.

Given the fact that 100% of surface water resource in the Mekong Delta is poured in from outside, MA. Ky Quang Vinh, the Chief of Can Tho Climate Change Coordination Office said that, to build climate change resilience in the urban spaces in the Mekong Delta, it is important to be able to be self-dependent of the surface water resource by measures such as building reservoirs and floodwater drainage channels, and storing underground water.

“We even need factories that can transform sea water into fresh water to be proactive in future water resource”, Mr. Vinh stressed.

Mr. Dao Anh Dung, the Vice President of Can Tho PC, said that, over the past time, with support from the Government, the international financial organizations and the international non-governmental organizations, Can Tho city has studied, invested, and successfully implemented intervention projects to improve its climate change adaptation capacity, upgrading the city, and building construction works to prevent flooding, and developing urban infrastructure. These projects have initially proved its efficiency in making the local community more confident and relieved in adapting to natural and environmental events.

From 2008 till now, Can Tho city has actively involved in the 100 Resilient Cities Network (100RC). Since mid-2016, it has become an official member of the 100RC program, which was founded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Climate change with its unforeseeable characteristic will be a huge challenge affecting urbanization, poverty reduction, and improvement of the life of people. Therefore, proactively building resilience for Can Tho city will be a feasible path for developing the city under the difficult circumstance of the future.

Joining the 100RC program, Can Tho city is starting a new process, building resilience against risks endangering future development. To do so, a number of structural and non-structural measures needs to be implemented concurrently, quickly and effectively.

In the meanwhile, Can Tho will not separate its development from that of other provinces/cities in the Mekong Delta. Its resilience will further strengthen and support the resilience of other provinces/cities and vice versa, to create common strength for the whole region to adapt and develop.

(Translated and re-posted from the Bnews.vn)

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