As many as 300 policymakers, experts and scientists from Sub-Mekong region countries and other nations across the globe are gathering at an international conference in Ho Chi Minh City to discuss solutions to some of the most acute challenges facing Vietnam and its delta, as well as the broader Mekong River system.

Addressing the 2013 World Deltas Dialogues II, which kicked off on May 19, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Thai Lai said the Mekong Delta region is facing serious water-related challenges from global warming and climate change, notably salt water intrusion.

Climate change scenarios in Vietnam show that sea levels could rise by up to 1 metre by 2100, covering 40 percent of the Mekong Delta.

These problems are truly challenging the regional ecosystem, the agro-fishery industry and food security, said Lai.

He added that the conference will provide a forum for global representatives to share their experiences in managing and dealing with arising challenges in deltas across the world, particularly the Mekong Delta region.

The Delta 2013 Vietnam is jointly organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, America ’s Wetland Foundation (AWF), the Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City , and the Dutch and US Embassies in Vietnam .

Delegates at the conference discussed long-term issues relating to the Mekong Delta’s development and ecosystem balance, experience in coping with climate change in the Mississippi Delta and how to adapt to flooding in the Mekong Delta region and Vietnam ’s coastal areas.

The conference, with the first event held in the US three years ago, will last until May 23.-VNA