|Power boats of farmers in the southern province of Cà Mau run aground on a dry canal due to climate change. Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has called for assistance for farmers in the Mekong Delta and Central Highlands – the two regions most severely affected by the historic, once-in-a-century drought. – VNA/VNS Photo Kim Há|
HÀ NỘI — “The first-priority mission in coping with climate change now should be ensuring enough fresh water for residents,” said Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, also Chairman of the National Committee on Climate Change at its 7th session yesterday in Hà Nội.
“We can’t blame lack of capital for not ensuring enough fresh water for our residents,” he said.
Phúc ordered the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to take measures to assist farmers in the Mekong Delta and Central Highlands – the two regions most severely affected by the historic once-in-a-century drought – to store fresh water for daily life and production.
Building reservoirs to serve demands on fresh water for the daily life and production of residents in the delta was another prioritised task, he said.
Phúc assigned the agricultural ministry to establish an inspection team to check the impact of climate change on the delta these days and to propose the most suitable solutions.
The meeting was organised to set new tasks in the fight against climate change for the committee this year as well as identifying remaining challenges.
Speaking at the session to recommend targets for the committee this year, Minister Cao Đức Phát said the country was advised to improve its capability of analysing and forecasting disasters and other phenomena triggered by climate change.
Authorised agencies should spend more capital to improve the irrigation system in the Mekong Delta in order to battle saltwater intrusion in the region, he said.
Minister of Planning and Investment, Nguyễn Chí Dũng, suggested that all regional-level planning should be thoroughly reviewed to avoid overlapping investments for battling climate change in the coming times.
Deputy Prime Minister, Trịnh Đình Dũng, said it was momentous to set up a programme to supply fresh water for residents in the delta.
In his report presented at the meeting, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Trần Hồng Hà said that climate-change mitigation activities were still facing big challenges, therefore, more long-term drastic solutions were needed to deal with it.
Hà pointed out remaining challenges such as climate change developing faster than forecast, and the occurrence of extreme weather phenomena are more complicated and unpredictable than expected, he said.
In the meantime, inadequate policies were identified as one of causes for failing to attract capital investment from enterprises or social organisations in coping with climate change, he said.
Clean and renewable energy were yet to be effectively developed and used as expected, he added.
In conclusion, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc assigned the committee to quickly build a roadmap to struggle with climate change in line with both the natural conditions and the socio-economic development of the country. This is to include raising public awareness of the effects of climate change, perfecting policies, improving forecasting activities and strengthening international co-operation.
"Climate change is a hot issue, not only receiving a lot of attention from the international community, but also from the Government of Việt Nam because the country was one of five that will suffer most from climate change," he said.
The National Committee on Climate Change was established in 2012 following a Government decision.
Forest fire warnings for 20 localities
Twenty provinces and cities throughout the country have been put on the highest alert for forest fires yesterday due to the prolonged heat wave and drought, warned the Việt Nam Forestry Administration under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The provinces and cities stretch over the regions of the north-western, central, Central Highlands and the Mekong Delta.
The administration directed all 20 local authorities to mobilise all forces to take action in case of emergency. They were ordered to instruct local people to not burn crops to avoid forest fires, the administration said. — VNS