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“Sustainable Development for the Mekong Delta” Forum

 

The Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) is a socio-political organization of scientific and technological intellectuals, whose members are 63 local associations, 86 scientific and technical associations and more than 500 non-public science and technology organizations directly under the VUSTA Presidium. Many organizations in VUSTA have been cooperating with partners in the Mekong Delta to implement community solutions, helping to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change and have made profound achievements, contributing to the implementation of the general guidelines, strategies and plans of our Party and State on sustainable development of the Mekong Delta.

 

In June 2019, in response to the 2019 Mekong Delta Forum chaired by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, VUSTA organized the Workshop "Increasing the participation of Science and Technology organizations and Social organization in the sustainable development of the Mekong Delta” to mobilize the participation of scientists, professional social organizations and non-public science and technology organizations to contribute proposals to the Forum from the practical activities of research, application and implementation of community initiatives in the Mekong Delta. The workshop sent petitions, proposals, and specific solutions in different areas from sustainable energy conversion, adaptive smart agriculture model, plastic waste reduction, etc. to the Forum which the Prime Minister presided over.

In December 2019, in the framework of VUSTA's Forum 2030 initiative, VUSTA cooperated with UNDP, Vietnam Cooperative Union, and TE-FOOD International to organize a workshop on “Promoting the application of high technology in the Agricultural supply chain for a sustainable, climate-resilient agriculture in Ho Chi Minh City, with a focus on the goal of establishing and maintaining sustainable agricultural supply chains and agricultural production low emissions. The seminar witnessed the signing ceremony of cooperation between partners in the sustainable agricultural supply chain and the Coprmart Supermarket Alliance was established.

 

More significantly, in the context of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) having been signed and having taken effect officially, this will be a big stimulation for Vietnam's exports, helping to diversify markets and export products, especially agricultural and aquatic products as well as Vietnamese advantaged products.

Agriculture is an important sector that determines the success of Vietnam's integration and sustainable development. All new generation of free trade agreements such as Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), EVFTA, etc. have important contents on market opening, creating favorable conditions in agriculture, forestry, and fishery sector.

The advantages that EVFTA bring to Vietnam's agricultural sector is huge, but the EU is a complicated market. Besides opportunities, there will always be challenges. This means that EU countries will turn to technical barriers such as chemical issues, food safety issues, and legal barriers that force our changes to suit the requirements of the export market.

Sustainable development and climate change adaptation are also two of the important issues that should be mastered for the sustainable development of the Mekong Delta. To truly plan and develop the Mekong Delta, the important factor is regional connectivity; strengthening the coordination role of state management agencies; multi-stakeholder cooperation.

 

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In that context, on October 28, 2020, in Can Tho city, following the success of the previous workshops, VUSTA organized the Sustainable Development for the Mekong Delta Forum. Participating in the Forum were nearly 90 delegates representing the People's Committee leaders, Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development in some localities, research institutes, experts who have a lot of experience in building regional development-oriented strategies, and scientific and technical associations in the Union's member provinces. The forum aims to i) Consider and propose specific initiatives, solutions and policies for sustainable development of the Mekong Delta in different sectors from agriculture, water resource management, and sustainable energy transformation; ii) Promote inter-regional and multilateral cooperation, including state management agencies, businesses, social organizations and international partners, in providing solutions for sustainable agricultural development, promoting smart agricultural production science and technology, sustainable energy conversion and climate change adaptation. Reports and speeches at the forum revolved around challenges and direction in sustainable development for the Mekong Delta in the future in the context of Vietnam's increasingly deep integration with international markets.

 

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Two representatives from the Center for Sustainable Rural Development, who were Director Vu Thi Bich Hop and Deputy Director Nguyen Phu Hung, presented two reports on "The process of developing the national contribution partnership initiative to self-decide NDC and the national action plan to implement the Paris Agreement" as well as reports on “Opportunities and issues related to the agricultural sector upon joining the EVFTA agreement; adapt to climate change”.

At the end of the forum, delegates all agreed on the important role of the Mekong Delta in the national development process as well as the extremely big challenges of the Region against the problems of climate change. In order to develop the Mekong Delta, the issue of sustainable water resource management, adaptive agricultural development in regional linkages, and integration are extremely important, which decides all successes or failures of sustainable development options for the Region in the future.

 

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Mrs. Vu Thi Bich Hop, the Director of SRD cum President of VNGO-FLEGT and VNGO-CC network, gave her speech at the Forum

  

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Dr. Nguyen Phu Hung, the Deputy Director of SRD, presented reports

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