Netherlands commits to support Vietnam in realising the Mekong Delta Regional Master Plan

The Conference on the promulgation of the newly launched Mekong Delta Regional Master Plan chaired by Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh took place on 21 June, 2022 in the southern city of Can Tho, Viet Nam. The Vietnam's first Integrated Regional Master Plan fits excellently in Viet Nam - Netherlands long-lasting bilateral relation, especially the two countries' strategic partnerships in Water & Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security.

Image: ©Embassy in Hanoi

The Netherlands and the Mekong Delta are both vulnerable deltas with many similar challenges. The Netherlands is committed to continue to contribute to the bright future of the Mekong Delta.

More than 10 years ago, Vietnam requested the Netherlands to support the development of a Mekong Delta Plan. This plan was approved in 2013 and endorsed by the Vietnamese Government. It has been the basis and inspiration for Vietnamese Government’s Resolution 120 towards a sustainable delta that was approved in 2017. This year, Vietnam has set a milestone by approving the Mekong Delta Regional Integrated Master Plan providing (1) long term, (2) cross-sectoral (3) integrated planning to support and catalyse the social, economic and environmental development of the delta.

Image: ©Thanh Nien | Dinh Tuyen

“The consultants from the Dutch consultancy and engineering firm Royal Haskoning DHV advised on the development of the master plan, makes me a proud Dutch Ambassador.

Going forward, the Netherlands remains committed to partner with Vietnam’s government, private sector, science and non-governmental organizations to make the implementation of the integrated master plan a success in order to help the people, economy and nature in the Mekong delta thrive,” said Ambassador Akkerman at the Conference.

The Netherlands continues its support to Vietnam in implementing the Regional Master Plan

The commitment includes the agriculture transformation with the development of sustainable value chains in amongst others aquaculture, saline agriculture, fruit and vegetables, sustainable livestock with a strong link to the water challenges. The Netherlands has been supporting the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to develop an Agro Transformation Program to coordinate and boost this process together with the Mekong provinces and work with a multi-stakeholder approach including the private sector, science, civil society and the international organizations and bilateral partners in strategizing, policy development and implementation.

Secondly, the Netherlands continues working with Vietnam on nature-based solutions through mangrove reforestation in combination with for example crab or clam production, which is important for biodiversity, carbon storage and coastal protection. In this context, the Government of the Netherlands and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have committed to support the Government of Vietnam in strengthening the coastal zones of the Mekong Delta and the resilience of its inhabitants. The Netherlands has commissioned a consortium to contribute to the early stages of project development for mangrove reforestation. It is expected that with this nature based solution approach, Viet Nam will further contribute to biodiversity improvement and climate change mitigation in the overall planning of the Mekong Delta.

Furthermore, Netherlands offers its experience and expertise to collaborate with Vietnam on the development of transport, logistics and agro-business hubs, which is crucial to enable products to arrive safely in cities for ‘sale and consumption’ and in ports for ‘export’. The planned one-billion-Euro Cai Mep Ha deep sea port and logistics center by a Vietnam-Netherlands-Belgium consortium will be an important building block in securing access to European markets for shrimps and fruit from the delta. The Netherlands is eager to continue the cooperation on port development, cold chain development, storage capacity as well as on improving inland waterways, inland waterway shipping and training of crews.

Water management will remain core in Viet Nam – Netherlands cooperation for the protection of the important freshwater zones and coastal areas, to work on improved water quality (especially in relation to agriculture and aquaculture), climate change adaptation and the management of natural disaster risks. The importance of land subsidence has to be taken into account, as a result of groundwater extraction, since it is currently causing more flooding than climate change.

Image: ©Dinh Tuyen

The master plan boosts investors’ confidence

Speaking at the Conference, Mr. Gabor Fluit, Vice President of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EUROCHAM) and CEO of Royal De Heus Asia underlined the importance of the Regional Master Plan in the sustainable development of the Mekong Delta. Investing in inland waterway and seaports development will offer more opportunities to make Mekong Delta a regional agriculture business hub.

Mr. Fluit highlighted that the Mekong Delta regional master plan announced today will help foreign businesses and investors clearly understand the local government's long-term vision and strategy. This will certainly make foreign investors having more confidence in their investment decision in the Mekong Delta.