Australia, Germany help Mekong Delta tackle climate change

The government of Australia and Germany signed Friday an agreement to continue their partnership in Vienam’s Mekong Delta under an expanded program to help the country’s manage and protect its coastal ecosystems, which includes responding to the impacts of climate change. 

The signing took place in Rach Gia City, Kien Giang Province in the delta.

Representatives of the governments of Australian, Germany and Vietnam (in dark suits join Friday’s signing in Rach Gia City (GIZ handout photo)

Australia, through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), will contribute A$23 million (US$24.3 million) to the program and Germany commits US$14.1 million in technical cooperation, AusAID said.

The five-year Climate Change and Coastal Ecosystems Program will be implemented under a Delegated Cooperation Arrangement between Australia and Germany, according to the Australian Embassy Hanoi.

The program will cover the provinces of An Giang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau, Kien Giang and Soc Trang. It will also include a national level component to support central policy development and resourcing decisions based on experiences in the target provinces, the embassy said.

The program will be implemented by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit), a German organization set up in January 2011 to support the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. GIZ is also engaged in international education work around the globe.

In addition, Germany has committed US$25.3 million of financial cooperation implemented by the German Government-owned banking group KfW, for the climate change program in the Mekong Delta.

“Australia is expanding its assistance to Vietnam, as one of the countries to be most affected by climate change, for adaptation to a changing climate and for transition to low carbon development in line with global efforts” Mr. Michael Wilson, AusAID Minister-Counsellor, said in a statement.

“In the Mekong Delta, Australia will continue to work in partnership with Germany and local governments in joint efforts towards responding to the impacts of climate change and promoting sustainable livelihoods for local communities,” he added.

Ms. Fisel-Roesle, Consular Attachée from the German Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City, said, in the statement, “The Vietnamese-Australian-German cooperation is an excellent example on how donor countries can jointly help Vietnam to mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

The Climate Change and Coastal Ecosystems Program, building on existing work in Bac Lieu, Soc Trang and Kien Giang, will provide practical solutions to address the range of environmental hazards being faced in coastal ecosystems, according AusAIDS.

It added provincial climate change adaptation plans would be developed to include activities such as mangrove rehabilitation and coastal forest protection measures, promotion of alternative income opportunities for communities dependent on coastal forests, demonstration of alternative farming practices and improved dyke construction and management.

Mr. Jochem Lange, Country Director of GIZ in Vietnam, said in the statement, “All these issues demonstrate the complexity of Climate Change challenges, which cannot be solved by a single entity and have to be addressed in a holistic and coordinated approach”.

The program is expected to run from July 2011 till June 2016.

By Thuy Nguyen

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