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VietNamNews

Dutch aid Mekong Delta climate battle

Update: November, 12/2010 - 10:06
HCM CITY — Viet Nam and the Netherlands yesterday agreed to jointly draft a master plan for developing the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta which faces the imminent threat of climate change.

Government officials and experts from both sides wrapped up a two-day forum for the purpose in HCM City, held under the auspices of the Partnership Agreement for mitigating sea-level rise in Viet Nam signed by the two countries' prime ministers in Brussels last April.

To co-ordinate the Vietnamese – Netherlands Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) on Water, they agreed at the forum to set up a joint Vietnamese and Dutch governmental committee, chaired by their respective deputy prime ministers.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment will work under the committee to manage four different aspects – the plan to develop the delta region; co-operation between Rotterdam and HCM City; exchange of knowledge; and the Vietnamese – Netherlands water forum.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Thai Lai, who chaired the two-day meeting, said until next March the SPA will focus on the development plan for Cuu Long Delta.

It is the most threatened by climate change in Viet Nam, especially by rising sea levels.

Lai said the Vietnamese side will soon set up a permanent office and four consulting groups – for environment and infrastructure, sectors that use water and land resources, developing long-term scenarios for the delta's development, and developing governmental institutions for the purpose.

He sought Dutch prompt assistance in drafting criteria for selecting members for the groups, defining what needs to be done, and budgeting.

Aalt Leusink of the Netherlands Cooperative Programme On Water And Climate and head of the Dutch delegation, said the funds required by the Dutch side will come from its government.

The Vietnamese side will draw funds from the National Programme for Adaptation to Climate Change and soft loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Asia Development Bank.

Prof Cees Veerman, former Dutch minister of water resources, will be the chief consultant. He was nominated by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. — VNS

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