The importance of the Mekong Delta and need-to-do things

24/08/2014


In April 2013, at The 5th annual forum ‘Nature and Culture conservation for Sustainable Development of Mekong Delta’, co-organized by the Vietnam Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the People’s Committee of Ca Mau and the WWF, discussed the importance of maintaining ecosystem services in the Mekong Delta in the context of climate change.
The Mekong River flowed freely for 4,900 kilometres from its 5,100-metre high source in Tibet to the coast of Vietnam, where it finally poured into the South China Sea. The Mekong is the world’s twelfth longest river, and the eighth or tenth largest, in terms of the 475 billion cubic metres of water it discharges annually. Then and now it passes through or by China, Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is Southeast Asia’s longest river.
The Mekong Delta is the region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southwestern Vietnam of 39,000 square kilometres (15,000 sq mi).[1] The size of the area covered by water depends on the season. The Mekong Delta has recently been dubbed as a "biological treasure trove". Over 10,000 new species have been discovered in previously unexplored areas of Mekong Delta, including a species of rat thought to be extinct
The Mekong Delta plays an important role in the sustainable security of Vietnam, particularly as it relates to food security and the national economy. Facts of importance:
- 20% of Vietnam population live in the Mekong Delta
- 48% of stape foods for Vietnam are grown in the Mekong Delta
- 75% of Aquaculture production for Vietnam comes from the Mekong Delta
- 38% of marine fishery production for Vietnam comes from the Mekong Delta
- 40% of caught fisheries for Vietnam comes from th Mekong Delta
The Mekong River basin now faces numerous challenges. The rapid and dynamic development of the basin is mounting pressure on natural resources, including water, along with the unforeseeable impact of climate change and environmental pollution. Rapid, unplanned economic development, and unchecked population growth, as well as climate change, continually pressure these ecosystems and degrade the quality of their services . “The use of ecosystem services without proper planning has weakened or completely destroyed many of the Delta’s ecosystems. They are reduced in size, isolated, fragmented due to economic development (such as forest clearance for aquaculture or agriculture), infrastructure development, residential area enlargement, and contamination by production and wastewater. The construction of hydro dams upstream has also changed the natural flow of the river, leading to the loss of alluvium annually, and making the delta even more vulnerable to climate change. In the past, mangrove forest covered almost all coastal areas of the Delta but is disappearing rapidly. Now mangrove forest covers only Bac Lieu and Ca Mau provinces (about 77,00ha),” said Mr. Hoang Viet, Climate Change Co-ordinator of WWF-Vietnam.
So China’s dam-building plans are worrying enough, but the proposed new mainstream dams would pose even more serious concerns. In contrast to what has occurred in China, and until very recently, there have been no firm plans for the construction of dams on the mainstream of the Mekong below China. This situation has changed over the past three years. Memoranda of Understanding have been signed for 11 proposed dams: seven in Laos; two between Laos and Thailand; and two in Cambodia. The proposed dams are being backed by foreign private capital or Chinese state-backed firms. Government secrecy in both Cambodia and Laos means that it is difficult to judge which, if any, of these proposed dams will actually come into being. Attention and concern have focused on two sites: Don Sahong at the Khone Falls in southern Laos and Sambor in northeastern Cambodia. The reason for this attention is that if built these dams would block the fish migrations that are essential to insure the food supplies of Laos and Cambodia.
According to WWF experts, the recovery and maintenance of ecosystems and their services require synchronization of local policies to ensure sustainable livelihoods for those still dependent on rice planting, fishing and aquaculture. Increasing awareness of the need for environmental protection in local communities is also critical—along with the development of Mechanisms and tools to support ecosystem service payments (PES) .
Vietnam attaches great importance to cooperation within the Mekong River basin and takes an active, responsible and constructive part in all activities of the Mekong River Commission (MRC). Vietnam will work closely with other countries to realise the vision of the summit and fully implement the MRC agreement to boost cooperation with strategic partners so as to build a river of solidarity, friendship, cooperation, development and integration.
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All comments [ 10 ]


Lê Tín 24/8/14 19:37

Besides Red river, Mekong river is the second largest mother river of Vietnam, our life mostly depends on these rivers.

Huy Quốc 24/8/14 19:40

Global climate change poses severe threats to the Mekong Delta with sea level rise. A sea level rise of of 1 meter would innundate 90% of the delta annually. By 2030, the sea level rise could expose around 45 percent of the delta's land area to extreme salinisation and crop damage through flooding.

Hùng Quân 24/8/14 19:42

Really, we need to raise alarm and hold programs to protect those rivers.

Phạm Hiếu 24/8/14 19:46

Need to stop China's dams and Laos' dams on Mekong rivers, they are threatening many lives not just in Vietnam but in Laos and Cambodia.

Quân Hoàng 24/8/14 19:47

The Mekong Delta plays an important role in the sustainable security of Vietnam, particularly as it relates to food security and the national economy.

Quốc Cường 24/8/14 20:21

The Mekong Delta has played the role of a center for rice producing, aquaculture, marine products catching and processing, contributing much to the expor-tation of agricultural and marine products of the whole country.

Hoàng Lân 24/8/14 20:24

The government should act quickly to maintain the resources and environmental security for our own goods.

Huy Lâm 24/8/14 20:26

In the coming years, the Mekong Delta Key Economic Zone is assigned by the Government to continue to play the role of a big economic center of the Mekong Delta for rice producing, aquaculture, marine products catching and processing, contributing much to the exportation of agricultural and marine products of the whole country.

Vân Nhàn 24/8/14 20:29

Increasing awareness of the need for environmental protection in local communities is very critical.

Quốc Kiên 24/8/14 20:30

The Mekong Delta Key Economic Zone holds a very important geographical position in economic trading with the provinces in the area, the Southeastern region, the Western Highlands, the whole nation.

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