The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors yesterday approved US$310 million to help Vietnam build climate resilience and ensure sustainable livelihoods of 1.2 million people living in nine Mekong Delta provinces affected by climate change, salinity intrusion, coastal erosion, and flooding.
Recent extreme weather in the Mekong River Delta, including drought and salinity intrusion, are negatively affecting the lives of the farmers – most of whom are poor,” said Achim Fock, Acting Country Director for the World Bank in Vietnam. “We believe this innovative project brings together an effective multi-sectoral model to help farmers adapt agriculture and aquaculture livelihoods to the impacts of climate change.”
Development of the agriculture sector, particularly in the Mekong Delta, has contributed significantly to the development of Vietnam, as well as to regional food security. The wetlands and estuaries of the Delta are important sources of biodiversity. Vietnam’s annual rice exports of US$4 billion account for more than one-fifth of the global total.
The Mekong Delta alone contributes half of Vietnam’s rice, 70 percent of its aquaculture products, and one-third of Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP). But the region has also been identified as one of the most vulnerable deltas to the impacts of climate change as well as upstream development.
The approved Mekong Delta Integrated Climate Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Project supports better climate-smart planning and improved climate resilience of land and water management practices. The project will benefit farmers (especially rice) in the upper delta provinces and aquaculture farm and fisher-folk households along the coastal provinces in the region, including the Khmer ethnic minority people living in the Mekong delta provinces of Soc Trang and Tra Vinh.
The project is a critical part of the World Bank’s long-term engagement in the Mekong Delta to strengthen integrated adaptive delta management by bringing together the different sectors and provinces to plan, prioritize, and implement resilient investments. The estimated total cost for the project is US$387 million. The International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, is financing US$310 million.