More than 200 scientists, policymakers from ministries as well as officials of the 13 Delta provinces, representatives from international conservation and development organisations, research institutes and universities gathered for the “Nature and Culture Conservation for Sustainable Development of Mekong Delta” forum.
Many experts at the forum stressed the importance of maintaining ecosystems in the Mekong Delta, particularly in the context of climate change challenges.
The Delta’s ecosystems have reduced in size, become isolated and fragmented because of activities that include forest clearance for aquaculture or agriculture, infrastructure development, residential area enlargement and contamination by production and wastewater discharge, according to Hoang Viet, Climate Change Co-ordinator for World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Viet Nam.
Viet said the construction of hydropower dams upstream changed the natural flow of the river, leading to the loss of alluvium, making the delta even more vulnerable to climate change.
“In the past, mangrove forests covered almost all the Delta, but they are disappearing rapidly. Now mangrove forests cover only Bac Lieu and Ca Mau provinces (about 77,000ha),” he noted.