The Mekong Delta region should better protect its wetlands by improving the application of sustainable livelihood models, experts said at a recent forum in Tan An city, Long An Province.

The forum, organised on June 13 by the World Wildlife Fund, brought together local and foreign experts to discuss ways to protect the environment and biodiversity of wetland areas in the Delta.

Participants discussed regional planning and the management of aquaculture resources, and proposed strategies to make these activities more effective.

Bui Cach Tuyen, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, urged relevant ministries and sectors as well as Delta provinces and cities to raise public awareness sustainable use of wetlands resources to conserve biodiversity and adapt to climate change.

He said studies should be carried out and data compiled on natural resources in the Delta's wetlands.

Localities in the region should forge international links and effectively use foreign assistance to protect biodiversity, he said.

The Mekong Delta, home to over 17 million people, is estimated to have 3.9 million ha of wetlands.

The region accounts for over 50 percent of the national food output, and 90 percent of the nation's rice exports. Large aquaculture zones are also located here, helping the country become one of the biggest seafood exporters in the world.-VNA