Many scientists of southern cities and provinces have called for a new approach to climate change adaptation that would be tailored to each specific region.

Commenting on a draft proposal by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MONRR), participants at a conference held in Ho Chi Minh city on January 25 said it [the draft] should be revised.

The conference, held by MONRE and the Central Committee for Publicity and Education on Coping with Climate Change and Resource Conservation, was also attended by leaders of southern localities stretching from Da Nang to Ca Mau.

Dr. Duong Van Ni of Can Tho University said that different approaches were needed for each locality because the impact of climate change varied from area to area within the country.

"The risks from climate change include higher sea levels. But the upper part of the Mekong River is also affected, which means the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta needs a clear strategy to have reserves of fresh water," he said.

"Water volume from the upper to the lower part has changed dramatically in recent years due to climate change and changes made in the upper basin. This could lead to a major water shortage in the next 20 years," Ni added.

Prof. Le Huy Ba, former lecturer at Ho Chi Minh city Industry University, said the ministry's report incorrectly separated the two issues of climate change and the environment.

He said the report had an "inaccurate scientific approach" that focused on prevention rather than adaptation. Ni of Can Tho University said the major risk from climate change is the spread of disease from rising temperatures and different weather conditions.

"There will be more mosquitoes because of increased flooding," he said.

Ni also said that the proposal focused on the delta's inland areas but ignored the sea areas around the region.

He urged authorities in all countries lying on the upper part of the Mekong River to work closely with Vietnam and neighbouring countries to exchange information on water levels and other specific data.

And, an official from the Steering Committee for Southwest Region Development said it was necessary to monitor pollution levels of water from the river's upper part, which directly affects underground water in the delta.

He said that any planning scenario should include solutions on resolving the pollution levels in the river's upper region. -VNA