Viet Nam

Viet Nam: Australia, ADB Help Protect Viet Nam's Mekong Delta from Climate Change

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MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Viet Nam's low-lying and flood-prone Mekong Delta region will get support from Australia and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help cope with the potentially devastating impacts of climate change.

Technical assistance grants totaling $1.3 million from the Government of Australia and ADB will be used to carry out a full assessment of the climate change threats posed to the Mekong Delta region, and the actions needed for it to adapt in the face of an expected sea-level increase and more frequent and severe floods.

Viet Nam is one of the nations most at risk from climate change, and the Mekong Delta in the south, which is home to a fifth of the population, and the main producer of rice, is the most vulnerable region in the country. Preliminary studies show that up to 31% of the total land used for agriculture and aquaculture in the delta is at risk from a potential one meter rise in the sea level by 2100. This would have severe effects on the lives of about 4.8 million people, including over a million and a half poor.

A number of development agencies are providing climate-change linked assistance to Viet Nam, but there has been no comprehensive study undertaken of the potential impacts of extreme climate events on the Mekong region.

"Effective climate change adaptation measures urgently need to be developed and integrated into the region's development planning to enhance the physical and economic climate-resilience of the region and to protect poor and rural households," said Yongping Zhai, Lead Professional Energy Specialist in ADB's Southeast Asia Department.

The technical assistance will have two parts - Part A will involve modeling and assessment work to determine the likely future climate conditions in the region and their impact, and Part B will identify appropriate climate change adaptation measures for targeted areas and sectors. In particular, Part B of the technical assistance aims to establish pilot projects for adaptation actions that could be scaled up and replicated in other provinces or sectors in the region.

The areas selected for detailed analysis and piloting under the project are the coastal provinces of Kien Giang and Ca Mau, while the sectors chosen are energy, transport and agriculture, with the latter at the center of Viet Nam government's own national action plan for climate change adaptation.

The total cost of the project is $1.63 million equivalent, with the Government of Australia, providing an $800,000 grant, which will be administered by ADB. ADB is supplying $500,000 from its Climate Change Fund, while the Government of Viet Nam will provide the remaining $330,000. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is the executing agency for the project which will be carried out from January 2010 to April 2011.

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