A view of Mekong River (Source: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - A conference on how to enhance cooperation in protecting the Mekong River via smarter water energy planning approaches and wide application of renewable energy throughout the Mekong region was held in Hanoi on June 28.

The event was jointly organised by the Stimson Centre, the International Union for Conservation (IUCN) and the US Embassy in Vietnam.

Brian Eyler from the Stimson Centre said an initiative on a Mekong connection programme was built by the Stimson Centre, IUCN, Nature Conservancy (TNC), the University of California Berkeley (UCB), the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam with financial assistance from the US Embassy in Vietnam and the project “Building River Dialogue and Governance” (BRIDGE).

The programme proposes promoting the purchase and sale of electricity between Vietnam and Laos, especially implementing the strategic master plan on water and energy in Vietnam and Laos; and changing the energy investment portfolio of both countries to minimise environmental, social and political impacts.

It also promotes Vietnam's overseas investment in renewable energy in Laos and Cambodia, while maximising investment in wind, solar, biomass power and reducing hydroelectricity projects.

Jake Brunner, Acting Chief Representative of IUCN Vietnam, to fulfil the objectives of the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) report of the Paris Agreement, and strengthen cooperation with Laos and Cambodia, Vietnam needs to take full use of and promote its advantages to accelerate a greener and cleaner approach in ensuring regional energy security, and minimising risks to the Mekong Delta region.

Participants highlighted the progress of the Mekong connection programme, which provides information for Vietnam’s management agencies and stakeholders on opportunities and tools applicable to optimise water and energy use.

In addition, the programme has promoted connection and sharing of information between research institutions and international organisations working in the water and energy sectors, with relevant stakeholders in Vietnam.

In the coming time, IUCN, the Stimson Centre, the Vietnam Diplomatic Academy and partners will continue organising extensive consultations to reach consensus in governmental agencies, thus promoting strategy building on sustainable energy development in the region.-VNA