The Water Agency - Impact by Design

Mekong Delta Platform
for community-level climate adaptation

A bottom-up approach to water, energy & agriculture innovation

Context

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The Mekong Delta is classified as one of the world’s most vulnerable deltas to climate change. Regarded as the “rice bowl” of Vietnam, agricultural strength in the Mekong Delta is affected by rising temperatures, salt intrusion, land subsidence, upstream hydropower dams, flooding and droughts.

Despite these challenges, the agricultural region has made progress in terms of productivity, output and exports of both agricultural and aquaculture products. The Mekong Delta offers abundant potential and resources since it remains Vietnam’s largest production zone, producing half of the country’s rice and over 70 percent of its aquaculture. Yet, the climate challenges will require the sector to innovate with climate-smart technologies and resilient strategies. The Mekong Delta is at a turning point in which its economy needs to be far more productive, innovative and climate-resilient.

Recognizing this formidable challenge, the Vietnamese Government issued Resolution 120 on Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Development of the Mekong Delta in 2017, calling for a “new vision, strategic orientation, comprehensive, radical and synchronous solutions to attract participation of different stakeholders for sustainable development.”

Program Outline

Mekong Environment Forum (MEF) and The Water Agency (TWA) are joining forces by initiating an ambitious climate adaptation platform that should demonstrate the potential of smart, small-scale solutions to have a tangible, short-term impact to improve the livelihoods of farming communities in the Delta.

In our approach, we are focused on creating tangible results. We implement through a range of smaller-scale pilot projects that generate real impact. This allows us to demonstrate tangible results in a short time, get people excited and build on this by scaling and replicating successful solutions.

Ultimately, these pilot projects should lead to a sustainable "business case" in which local authorities and communities gain affordable and sustainable access to the solutions they need, while solution providers gain access to an attractive new market for their products.

Smart & Practical Solutions

Mekong Environment Forum has consulted extensively with local communities and provincial authorities to identify the key challenges and needs.

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Funding & Resources

Our program is NOT funded. From the start, all partners involved understand that we need to find approaches and solutions that are sustainable, i.e. that are affordable for the local communities and government, that can be locally maintained and that offer a healthy return for the solution providers as we scale and replicate to other communities.

Having said this, the partners bring a lot of local and international resources to the program:
  • Can Tho University is the leading university in the Mekong Delta, bringing in-depth knowledge of the region, relationships with local communities and government stakeholders (at all levels), relationships with international partners and donors and local capacity to support implementation (e.g. community education, organising campaigns, product training, etc.).
  • Both MEF and TWA have local people on-the-ground in the Mekong Delta to support the pilot projects, liaise with local communities and authorities, etc.
  • MEF has extensive experience with community-level projects in the Mekong Delta and good relationships with local communities and authorities.
  • MEF secured commitment from provincial authorities to (financially) support our program
  • TWA brings a large network of international partners and has experience initiating, supporting and leading water and climate projects in Asia.
Notwithstanding the above, we greatly welcome any partners that can contribute resources for the pilot projects: construction, community education, legal assistance, (micro)financing services, transport/logistics, media and communications, translation, etc. Please let us know if you are able to assist!

Tentative Timeline (subject to Covid-19)

August 2020

Consultation with Local Communities and Provincial Authorities

August 2020

August-September 2020

Invitation to Potential Solution Providers

17 September 2020 (TBD)

Pre-workshop Webinar for Solution Providers

17 September 2020 (TBD)

12-13 October 2020

Workshop & Webinar

October 2020 - onwards

Planning for Pilot Project(s)

October 2020 - onwards

April 2021

Start Implementation 1st Pilot Project

Call for Action!

If your company develops smart, community-level solutions in the areas of water, energy and food that could make a tangible difference to farming communities in the Mekong Delta, please join our platform!

At this stage, we only expect you to join our Workshop & Webinar on 12-13 October, which allows you to introduce your product and services to representatives from the local communities and provincial authorities. Only after that workshop - depending on your experience and the feedback from the local partners - will we start discussing with the interested companies how we could organise and implement a pilot project.

More information:

Nguyen Minh Quang (MEF & Can Tho University)       [email protected]

Gregor van Essen (TWA)                                               [email protected]

Project Partners

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