Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his visiting Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte on June 17 co-chaired a high-level conference in Hanoi discussing the coordination in assisting the comprehensive development of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region.

The conference aims to define major challenges and development prospects of the region, while reaffirming Vietnam’s priorities in developing the region in a comprehensive and sustainable manner, calling for international donors’ support in the work.

With its strength in agriculture, the Mekong Delta has contributed over one half of the country’s rice output, making the country one of the world’s top exporters of the grain. It plays an important role in conserving the global biological diversity as it is home to many species of migrant birds and fish.

However, the area is being burdened by grave pressure sparked by climate change and unsustainable socio-economic development.

Addressing the event, PM Dung said climate change has hard hit Vietnam and will continue its devastating course in the future, posing a great challenge to the country’s socio-economic development.

Vietnam highly values the Netherlands ’ support in the joint study of the “Mekong Delta Plan”, which is part of the bilateral partnership in climate change adaptation, he stated.

The findings of the study as well as other recommendations serves as a basis for Vietnam to review and adjust its development orientations and plans for the strategic region, said PM Dung.

He noted that Vietnam has drawn out five major policies in responding to climate change and socio-economic development impacts in the region, towards optimising its potential and advantages.

Vietnam has also sought ways to upgrade the regional infrastructure system, speed up poverty reduction, and narrow social development gap among regional localities, he added.

PM Dung also thanked the Dutch Government as well as development partners for their assistance over the past years, affirming the Vietnamese Government’s commitment to use the ODA source in a most effective manner and creating all possible conditions for donors to implement projects in the Mekong Delta region.

For his part, the Dutch PM held that sharing similarities in low terrain and high-density population, his country and the Mekong Delta region are also facing the same challenge posed by rising sea level, changing sea currents and salinisation.

He held that it is necessary to design a clear strategy coupled with well-established institutions and organisation in order to succeed in such a long-term plan like the Mekong Delta Plan.

Learning from each other is a way to become stronger and working together could enable both sides to help the Mekong Delta region grow sustainably, Rutte said.

He added that the Netherlands is willing to share its experience with Vietnam and learn from the country as well as residents in other delta regions.

The conference also drew the participation of World Bank Country Director in Vietnam Victoria Kwakwa, Asian Development Bank Country Director Tomoyiki Kimura, United Nations Coordinator Pratibha Mehta and representatives from foreign embassies and international organisations.

Development partners pledged to continue their long-term coordination with Vietnam for the sustainable development of the region.-VNA