Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has allowed the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences and the Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City to implement a research programme on scientific and technology tasks necessary for sustainable development in the southwest region between 2015 and 2019.

The Mekong Delta has yet to develop sustainably due to slow economic re-structuring and limited cooperative ties between the region and other provinces across the country, necessitating the plan, said Deputy PM Ninh, who is also Head of the Steering Committee for the southwest region, while chairing a workshop in Kien Giang province on March 27.

He pointed out that the rate of impoverished households in the region remains high, especially in remote and ethnic minority inhabited areas. Additionally, the lack of skilled workers and the impacts of climate change have posed enormous challenges to the delta, he added.

The research plan should find solutions to turn the region into a driving economic force of the country, he said.

The programme will be carried out in two stages, the first from 2015 to 2017 and the second between 2017 and 2019.

In 2015, the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) will collect proposals from domestic organisations and select 15 science-technology tasks to carry out. Some possible tasks include building a database for the region’s sustainable development, devising mechanisms and policies for regional connection, and researching issues relating to grassroots political system, education-training, and religion.

From 2017-2019, the VASS will focus on studying scientific and technological solutions to local urgent socio-economic issues in specific fields and in respective cities and provinces in the region while building business production and connection models and solutions to develop key products, as determined by the advantages of each locality.

Participants at the workshop also proposed measures to implement coordination between the VASS and the Steering Committee for the southwest region together with universities and research institutes nationwide.

The southwest region comprises 13 provinces and one city, accounting for 27 percent of the national GDP and 90 percent of Vietnam ’s total rice export volume.-VNA