Prime Minister Phuc invites Delta Programme Commissioner’s staff to Vietnam

On 26 and 27 September, Delta Programme Commissioner’s Staff Director Hermen Borst attended the Mekong Delta Conference in Can To. Vietnamese Prime Minister Phuc had invited Mr Borst to address an audience of 800 delegates. Among other topics, he explained the core elements of the Dutch Delta Programme and the importance of a cross-sectoral approach to the Mekong Delta issues. He also pointed out the need for close collaboration between various Ministries in Vietnam, and between the national government and the Mekong Delta provinces. In addition, Hermen Borst met privately with the Prime Minister to discuss the delta approach and the importance of collaboration between Vietnam and the Netherlands.

The efforts that the Netherlands is expending in Vietnam, in concert with the other international partners, turn out to be a great success. The Vietnam government has embraced major components of the Dutch approach, geared to the situation in the Mekong Delta. This was reiterated by the conclusions that the Prime Minister drew at the Can To conference. Prime Minister Phuc indicated, inter alia, that Vietnam needs to make decisions regarding transition of land use. He also stressed that groundwater use must be reduced, and that rather than combating salinisation through dykes and sluices, Vietnam needs to embrace salinisation and change its use of land. Furthermore, he drew conclusions regarding water retention and a more efficient collaboration between Ministries, administrative tiers, and other stakeholders. Prime Minister Phuc  – inspired by the Dutch Delta Programme – advocates the establishment of a regional coordination board and a regional fund for the Mekong Delta.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Phuc and Hermen Borst had already met in Rotterdam. During the Prime Minister’s visit to the Netherlands, water was one of his major focus areas. The Netherlands and Vietnam have entered into a strategic collaboration agreement in the fields of climate and water which constitutes the basis for the intensive collaboration between the two countries, in order to substantiate flood risk management and water security in a sustainable manner.

The Delta Programme Commissioner and his staff regularly receive delegations from abroad who are interested in learning more about the substantive themes of the Delta Programme. The administrative and funding aspects of the Dutch approach also command a great deal of attention. The Delta Programme Commissioner has joined forces with Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, who is very active at the international level. He has been involved in the Mekong Delta Plan for many years and has made several trips to Vietnam for this purpose.