Viet Nam News

Mekong Delta to boost regional connectivity

Regional connectivity and co-ordination is critical to the Mekong Delta’s harmonious and sustainable development, as is resolving conflicts in development.

The statement was made by Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment (MPI) Nguyễn Văn Hiếu, at a conference held in Hà Nội on Wednesday.

The event aimed to find solutions to strengthen links in the Mekong Delta region.

Mekong Delta is the southernmost area of Việt Nam, comprising one centrally-run city and 12 provinces, accounting for 12 per cent of the area and more than 19 per cent of the country’s population.

According to Trần Duy Đông, director of the MPI’s Local and Territorial Economy Department, regional connectivity in the Mekong Delta is particularly important in the management of water resources, economic development, addressing social issues and responding to challenges like climate change.

Commenting on regional co-ordination of the Mekong Delta region, Bùi Quang Tuấn, head of the Vietnam Institute of Economics, said linkages in the key economic region are still limited. The activities mainly stop at signing documents and plans. Investment promotion activities are not co-ordinated, while the database of key economic zone doesn’t serve the linkages.

Efforts to improve connectivity are still slow, planning is overly formal and ties between production, processing and marketing of agricultural products are limited, Tuấn added.

To develop the Mekong Delta, Đông said there are three basic elements. They are, linking to utilise effective resources for development; co-ordination mechanisms to develop a “common voice” and attach the interests of stakeholders to common interests; and financial resources for joint activities.

Ousmane Dione, Country Director of the World Bank in Việt Nam, said developing the Mekong Delta is important and close co-ordination in the region is significant. For successful implementation, an integrated interregional approach is required when introducing investment plans, programmes and projects and sharing information to support sustainable growth in the region.

This is an important time when central Government and localities are preparing for the 5-10 year socio-economic development plans, therefore, it is necessary to include regional co-ordination with steps and specific actions in the master plan, Dione suggested.

According to Justin Baguley, acting Deputy Head of Mission of the Australian Embassy in Việt Nam, economic development, climate change adaptation and regional infrastructure development in the Mekong Delta requires strong interregional co-ordination among all provinces and relevant ministries. Additionally, the efficient and sustainable use of available financial and natural resources is very significant.

Tuấn also said a joint co-ordination committee for the Mekong Delta should be set up to create synergy to enhance the value and competitiveness of agricultural and fishery products in the region.

The event was organised by MPI, in co-operation with the World Bank and the Australian Embassy in Việt Nam. — VNS

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