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WB provides $310 million for climate change project

Released at: 11:26, 14/06/2016

WB provides $310 million for climate change project

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Project to provide support, especially to rice farmers in the Mekong Delta, to cope with the effects of climate change.

by Tue Lam

The World Bank will conduct a $310 million project to help Vietnam build its climate change resilience and ensure the sustainable livelihoods of 1.2 million people living in nine Mekong Delta provinces affected by climate change, salinity, coastal erosion, and flooding.

Mr. Achim Fock, Acting Country Director for the World Bank in Vietnam, said recent extreme weather in the Mekong Delta, including drought and salinity, are negatively affecting the lives of farmers, most of whom are poor. 

“We believe this innovative project brings together an effective multi-sectoral model to help farmers adapt to the impacts of climate change,” he said.

The Mekong Delta Integrated Climate Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Project supports better climate-smart planning and improved climate resilience of land and water management practices.

The project will benefit farmers (especially rice farmers) in upper delta provinces and aquaculture farming and fishing households along coastal provinces in the region, including the Khmer ethnic minority living in Soc Trang and Tra Vinh provinces.

“Working on complex landscapes such as the Mekong Delta, which faces both climate change and development threats, requires a partnership with the government,” said Ms. Anjali Acharya, Environment Sector Coordinator for the World Bank in Vietnam.

“This project also exemplifies the value and benefit of close cooperation among key development partners, and can be replicable in other countries,” she added.

The project is a critical part of the World Bank’s long-term engagement in the Mekong Delta to strengthen integrated adaptive delta management by bringing together different sectors and provinces to plan, prioritize, and implement resilient investments.

The estimated cost for the project is $387 million. The International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, is financing $310 million.

Development of the agriculture sector, particularly in the Mekong Delta, has contributed significantly to Vietnam’s overall development and to regional food security. The wetlands and estuaries of the Delta are important sources of biodiversity.

Vietnam’s annual rice exports of $4 billion account for more than one-fifth of the global total. The Mekong Delta alone contributes half of Vietnam’s rice, 70 per cent of its aquaculture products, and one-third of its GDP. But the region has also been identified as one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change as well as upstream development.

Drought and salinity have been serious in the Mekong Delta recently. According to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, the El Nino weather pattern will continue to affect Vietnam and its intensity may be harsher than in the 1997-1998 period, when it had its biggest impact on the country.

The El Nino in 2015 and 2016 is also expected to be the longest for 60 years, lasting until the end of the winter-spring period. The rainy season may come late and end early.  

Figures from the General Department of Irrigation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) put the damaged aquaculture area at 3,771 ha.

Ca Mau is the worst affected, with over 70 per cent of its aquaculture area damaged, followed by Tra Vinh and Ben Tre with over 30 per cent of their area damaged. Eight of the 13 provinces in the Mekong Delta have declared a state of disaster due to drought and salinity: Kien Giang, Long An, Ca Mau, Tien Giang, Vinh Long, Ben Tre, Soc Trang and Tra Vinh.

Almost the entire planning area for brackish water shrimp has been affected by salinity, especially aquaculture areas downstream of the Hau River, in Ben Tre, Soc Trang, Tra Vinh and Kien Giang provinces. The risk of the aquaculture development plan falling apart is high.

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