09:54 | 12/07/2018 Cooperation
(VEN) - Some 200 delegates and experts from dozens of Asian and European states met last month in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho to discuss how best to adapt to climate change while attaining development targets. The “Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Conference on Climate Action to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – Ways Forward” was held on June 19-20.
Greater government efforts
The Mekong Delta is the largest agricultural production center in the country, contributing 50 percent of the country’s rice, 65 percent of seafood and 70 percent of fruit. However, the bounty and development of the Mekong Delta is facing tremendous challenges from climate change.
In 2016, severe drought and saline intrusion strongly affected 11 of the 13 Mekong Delta provinces. Vietnam is ranked among the five countries likely to be most affected by climate change and the Mekong Delta is among the most vulnerable regions in Vietnam due to sea level rise.
Vietnam has carried out many programs to mitigate the impacts of climate change, with resources from the government, localities and businesses.
Since 2011, the government has invested VND18.623 trillion in climate change projects suitable for each region and locality. The Mekong Delta has received VND6.76 trillion, while coastal provinces, northern mountainous provinces, and the Central Highlands have been allocated VND5.324 trillion, VND5.164 trillion, and VND1.375 trillion, respectively.
In November 2017, the government issued a resolution on the Mekong Delta’s sustainable and climate-resilient development. According to experts, the government has made greater efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change. However, these efforts are not sufficient to resolve the problems and the participation of more and more organizations at many levels is required.
In addition to Vietnam, many ASEM member countries suffer from catastrophic disasters. Conference participants focused on issues of development amid climate change, the combination between climate action and sustainable development goals, and measures to boost Asia-Europe climate partnerships towards sustainable development. ASEM members agreed that climate change response should be studied and evaluated as part of the sustainable development strategy, as well as efforts to alleviate poverty; ensure food safety, energy security and water security; and build resilient communities.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh stressed the need for the conference to develop a comprehensive approach for common understanding and double the efforts for climate change response towards sustainable development.
The deputy prime minister also said Vietnam highly values the strategic partnerships on climate change and the effective cooperation and assistance programs on financing and technology transfer that many ASEM members have extended to Vietnam.
The conference also came up with concrete recommendations on how best ASEM could strengthen Asia-Europe cooperation in response to climate change for sustainable development. They included advancing multi-stakeholder partnerships at all levels, developing a network of information sharing, enhancing corporate social responsibility and public-private partnerships, promoting support for developing members through climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building, and establishing a global mechanism for reduction of plastic litter in oceans.
In the framework of the conference, ASEM members shared their practical experience, especially in developing smart agriculture, ensuring food security, using renewable energy, and building infrastructure to cope with climate change. Speaking at the conclusion of the conference, First Secretary of the Netherlands Embassy in Vietnam Laurent Umans said climate change has different manifestations in each region. Therefore, early response to climate change is necessary, and joint action to combat climate change is underlined.