|Photo shows a corner of a Ca Mau Cape National Park – a Ramsar site of the world in the Mekong Delta Ca Mau Province. The Dutch Government has joined hands to help Viet Nam comprehensively developing the Mekong Delta region. – VNA/VNS Photo
HA NOI (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his visiting Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte yesterday co-chaired a high-level conference in Ha Noi to discuss their co-ordination in the comprehensive development of Viet Nam's Mekong Delta region.
The conference aimed to define major challenges and development prospects of the region, while reaffirming Viet Nam's priorities in developing the region in a comprehensive and sustainable manner with support from international donors.
The Mekong Delta contributes over half of the country's rice output, making the country one of the world's top exporters of the grain. It also plays an important role in conserving global biological diversity by providing habitat for many species of migrant birds and fish.
However, the area is burdened by pressure sparked by climate change and unsustainable socio-economic development.
Addressing the event, Dung said climate change had hit Viet Nam hard and would continue its devastating course in the future, posing a massive challenge to the country's socio-economic development.
Viet Nam highly valued the Netherlands' support in the joint study of the "Mekong Delta Plan", which was part of their bilateral co-operation work to adapt to climate change, he stated.
The findings of the study as well as other recommendations served as a basis for Viet Nam to review and adjust its development orientations and plans for the strategic region, said Dung.
He noted that Viet Nam had drawn up five major policies in response to climate change and the impacts of socio-economic development in the region in order to take advantage of its potential and advantages.
Viet Nam had also sought ways to upgrade regional infrastructure, speed up poverty reduction and narrow the social development gap among regional localities, he added.
Dung also thanked the Dutch Government as well as development partners for their assistance over the years, saying the Vietnamese Government was committed to using ODA in an effective manner while creating favourable conditions for donors to implement projects in the Mekong Delta region.
For his part, the Dutch PM held that similarities in low terrain and high-density populations meant that, his country and the Mekong Delta region were facing the same challenges posed by rising sea levels, changing currents and salinisation.
He said that it was necessary to design a clear strategy coupled with well-established institutions and organisations in order to succeed in a long-term for the Mekong Delta.
Learning from each other was a way to become stronger and working together could enable both sides to help the Mekong Delta region grow sustainably, Rutte said.
He added that the Netherlands was willing to share its experience with Viet Nam and learn from the country as well as residents in other delta regions.
The conference also drew the participation of World Bank Country Director in Viet Nam Victoria Kwakwa, Asian Development Bank Country Director Tomoyiki Kimura, United Nations Co-ordinator Pratibha Mehta and representatives from foreign embassies and international organisations.
Development partners pledged to continue their long-term co-ordination with Viet Nam for the sustainable development of the region.
A Vietnamese-Dutch energy forum was held yesterday as part of the Dutch Prime Minister's visit to Viet Nam.
Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Le Duong Quang, said Dutch energy businesses had high technology and long experience in oil and gas, liquefied natural gas and renewable energy.
He said this provided a good opportunity for them to operate in Viet Nam, a market with large oil and gas reserves and increasing demand for energy consumption.
Quang added that Viet Nam might also become a provider of fuels for biomass production for Dutch renewable energy companies.
He said the Vietnamese Government pledged to create good conditions for businesses to expand co-operation in this area.
At the forum, the two sides also agreed that their ministries, agencies and groups should strengthen co-operation in other fields.
The Netherlands now tops the world in designing and building oil and gas infrastructure. It also ranks second in the world in the export of oil and gas products.
Two-way trade between Viet Nam and the Netherlands increased from US$1.2 billion in 2006 to $3.6 billion in 2013.
The Netherlands has become Viet Nam's second export market in the EU after Germany. It is also one of the leading European investors in Viet Nam with 192 projects worth nearly $6.3 billion. — VNS