The Việt Nam Mekong River Commission (VMRC) held the first plenary meeting in 2019 on Wednesday. — VNA/VNS Photo
TIỀN GIANG — The Việt Nam Mekong River Commission (VMRC) held the first plenary meeting in 2019 in the Mekong Delta province of Tiền Giang on Wednesday under the chair of the commission’s chairman, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Trần Hồng Hà.
The meeting was held to announce the consultation results regarding Laos’ Pak Lay hydropower project on the Mekong and the development of hydropower upstream.
The functions and priority tasks for the VMRC after the commission’s upgrade were also tabled for discussion.
Opening the meeting, Minister Hà said the Government’s Resolution 120/NQ-CP on climate resilience and sustainable development of the Mekong Delta region has created a strong shift in the way of thinking on the way forward for the region in the context of climate change and impacts of economic growth. However, negative effects on and vulnerability of the Mekong Delta are yet to be addressed.
Therefore, it is necessary to establish the position, functions and tasks of the VMRC, which should include related activities such as diplomatic ties with upstream nations, consultations on appropriate use of water through technical solutions on the Mekong, and information updates in order to propose comprehensive solutions for arising issues, the minister said.
In addition to a report by the VMRC’s standing office on the consultation outcomes regarding the Pak Lay project, other reports presented included the implementation of the tasks assigned to the commission in Resolution 120/NQ-CP and the situation of water use and diversion in Thailand.
An important task for the VMRC under Resolution 120/NQ-CP is to assess and propose measures for the effective implementation of the Mekong Agreement, upholding Việt Nam’s role in the Mekong River Commission and increasing co-operation in the management and exploitation of water resources in the Mekong.
Minister Hà requested the VMRC’s plenary meeting give priority to reaching consensus on a plan and specific measures to successfully complete the VMRC’s working programme in 2019.
Lê Văn Hưởng, chairman of the People’s Committee of Tiền Giang Province, told the meeting that as one of the downstream localities, Tiền Giang has been facing many challenges and negative impacts of climate change and increased use of water resources by upstream nations.
He reported that the province has issued a plan on March 28 this year on implementing the Government’s Resolution 120/NQ-CP. Under the plan, Tiền Giang will intensify communication campaigns on climate resilience and sustainable development of the Mekong Delta following the guidance of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
The locality will also complete basic surveys on natural resources and the environment, and gradually draw maps on the risks of flooding and saltwater intrusion at the commune level based on various scenarios on sea level rise with a view to draft suitable measures for adaptation and response. — VNS