The Steering Committee for Southwestern Region presents certificates of merit to those who made contributions to the MDEC Hau Giang. (Source: VNA)

Hau Giang (VNA) – As much as 927 billion VND (41.71 million USD) was raised for the region’s social welfare fund at the 2016 Mekong Delta Economic Cooperation Forum (MDEC 2016) that closed in Hau Giang on July 15.

The figure was released by the Vice Chairman of the Hau Giang province People’s Committee Dong Van Thanh, who is vice head of the MDEC organisation board.

Prominent donors include Hanoi with 19 billion VND (855,000 USD), Ho Chi Minh City - 13 billion VND (585,000 USD), and the banking sector with 257 billion VND (11.56 million USD), according to Thanh.

The proceeds will be used to cover the construction of schools, local health centres, charity houses, scholarships, health insurance for disadvantaged people and natural calamity recovery.

Chief of the Office of the Steering Committee for the Southwest Region Nguyen Van Ut, who is also head of the MDEC Secretariat said as part of the implementation of the MDEC 2016 joint statement, the Steering Committee will ask the Government to allocate funds for developing transport and waterway infrastructure facilities and projects to adapt to climate change in the Mekong Delta.

Regional connectivity will be strengthened in agricultural production and in addressing droughts and salt intrusion.

Local authorities will take efforts to enhance the awareness about and capability of international economic integration at all levels and sectors.

The region will focus on boosting trade, investment and tourism promotion, expanding hi-tech agriculture production and new-style cooperative models.

Measures will be devised to improve the investment climate, simplify administrative procedures, facilitate the operations of local enterprises, thus boosting the sustainable socio-economic development of the region.

The MDEC Forum, originally organised as an annual event in regional localities from 2007 to 2014, aims to promote the potential and strengths of the Mekong Delta region and boost economic cooperation towards sustainable development.

From 2016, the MDEC Forum will be held biennially. MDEC 2018 will take place in Bac Lieu province in April, 2018.

The Mekong Delta comprises of 12 provinces and one centrally-run city with a total area of 40,000 square kilometres and a population of 18 million. It is the country’s main rice producer.-VNA