Integrated Coastal Management Programme
Title: Integrated Coastal Management Programme
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Viet Nam
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Viet Nam (MARD)
Overall term: 2011 to 2018
The Mekong Delta is home to 17 million people and is Viet Nam’s most important agricultural region, producing 55 per cent of the country’s rice. Viet Nam is now the world’s second largest exporter of rice, with its production in the Mekong Delta feeding more than 245 million people worldwide. The Delta is also the country’s third largest industrial region after the metropolitan areas of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
But the Mekong Delta is facing existential threats. Climate change is causing a rise in sea level, and according to official studies more than a third of the Delta area could be underwater by the year 2100. Some areas of the coast are already being eroded by 30 metres a year. The mangrove forests along the coast, which protect the hinterland from floods and storms, are in dramatic decline. In early 2016, the Mekong Delta suffered its most severe drought in 90 years. This, together with rising sea levels, resulted in a heavy intrusion of saltwater into rice growing areas.
The strengthened coastal zone around the Mekong Delta is better able to cope with a changing environment, thereby establishing a basis for sustainable growth.
The programme supports the Vietnamese authorities in their efforts to strengthen the coastal area and to cope with the environmental changes occurring there, while opening the way to sustainable growth.
Initiating a comprehensive response for climate adaptation. The programme is assisting the Vietnamese Government in developing an innovative, coordinated and comprehensive response to climate change in the Mekong Delta. This includes better coordination of the key actors and climate-responsive planning and budgeting. A pilot scheme for the regulation of regional coordination in the Mekong Delta should enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the climate strategies and investments in 13 provinces of the delta region.
Protecting people and land from extreme weather events. The programme is contributing to the better protection of 720 kilometres of coastline against extreme weather events like storms and floods. The main instrument used for this are the integrated coastal protection plans of four Mekong Delta provinces, including recommendations for coastal protection investments. Wherever possible the ecosystem should be used to protect the coast, but hard infrastructure such as dykes and concrete wave breakers can also be built if necessary.
Supporting farmers in adapting to climate change. Farmers benefit from support in applying new techniques. For example, they can reduce their consumption of water and pesticides for rice production by up to 30 per cent, and in so-doing can raise their incomes by 40 per cent. The programme also assists smallholder farmers to gain better access to markets, for instance by strengthening cooperatives and agricultural business clusters. It is also contributing to the improved management of more than 14,000 kilometres of canals across the delta region, since agriculture is strongly dependent on water. This enables the more sustainable use of 767,000 hectares of agricultural land, which benefits around 1.2 million people in rural households in the area.
The programme is being co-financed by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
More than seven million people in the Mekong Delta are better protected against the effects of climate change as a result of the programme’s measures.
The programme is contributing to the better protection of 720 kilometres of the Mekong Delta’s coastline against extreme weather events. This is expected to make more than 3.5 million people in coastal districts safer from the impacts of climate change. The programme has developed feasibility studies which are preparing the way for investments of EUR 110 million, especially with regard to coastal protection.
Working with the Vietnamese Government, the programme has supported the development of pilot regulations for the regional coordination in the Mekong Delta. These were signed into law by the prime minister in April 2016.
A coastal forest policy, developed with inputs from the programme, includes the planting of 46,000 hectares of new coastal forest by 2020. This forest will provide ecosystem services worth approximately USD 102 million annually, as well as carbon sequestration of around 13.2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent – roughly the same as 2.7 million cars produce in one year.
The programme has successfully introduced T-shaped breakwaters to Viet Nam, which in some sites have halted erosion that was proceeding at up to 30 metres per year. In other sites, up to 180 metres of land lost to the sea has been restored. These new mud flats can now be grown with mangroves and other plants.
25 new livelihood models have been introduced to 10,800 households. These include the use of sustainable rice cultivation techniques, and benefit around 43,000 people. These environmentally friendly livelihood models have increased household incomes by up to 60 per cent.