UK funds $2.6 million to help save Vietnam deltas

By Minh Nga   January 16, 2020 | 06:00 am PT
UK funds $2.6 million to help save Vietnam deltas
A boy stands by his house that has been partly swept away by erosion in the Mekong Delta's province of Soc Trang, June 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.
The U.K. government has launched a project worth £2 million ($2.6 million) to help Vietnam protect the future of its Red River and Mekong deltas.

The Living Delta Hubs project was kicked off Wednesday via an event organized by the British Embassy in Hanoi.

The Red River delta, including capital Hanoi, is where the river flows through after it starts in Yunnan Province in Southwest China to the Gulf of Tonkin, and the Mekong Delta in the south is where the Mekong River runs through before it meets the South China Sea.

Both are major eco-social systems and key food sources of Vietnam, the embassy said.

However, the deltas are facing increasing threats, either from human exploitation or from the environmental degradation, it said. Both deltas are victims of unabated sand dregding which puts local communities under huge risks of erosion.

The project, funded by the Global Challenge Research Fund, a £1.5 billion fund announced by the U.K. Government in late 2015 to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries will be deployed in Vietnam until 2024 to protect the future of the two deltas by building adaptabilities for local communities and promoting sustainable development.

The Living Deltas Hub is said to operate on a model of equitable partnerships with delta residents and the research community working together. The project will develop new knowledge and policies to safeguard delta futures through more resilient communities and sustainable development, the embassy said.

The four goals it wants to achieve are more equitable livelihoods for delta people, sustainable management of delta landscape, stronger local and regional monitoring toward sustainable development, and better local and national policies for delta sustainability.

Vietnam is identified by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2014 as one of the countries likely to be most affected by climate change due to its extensive coastline, vast deltas and floodplains, location on the path of typhoons, and that 25 percent of the nation could not be in use by 2100 due to sea level rise.

Most recently, the Global Climate Risk Index, published by the environmental think tank Germanwatch last month, ranked Vietnam sixth among countries hit hardest by extreme weather events in that period, standing behind Puerto Rico, Myanmar, Haiti, the Philippines and Pakistan.

Aside from Vietnam’s two deltas, the U.K. project also includes the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna that belongs to Bangladesh and India.

Andrew Thompson, chief executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Council at U.K. Research and Innovation, said this project is one of the most ambitious investments of the U.K. in international research and development that proves its effort in supporting the livelihood among world’s most difficult and remote areas.

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