Scenarios for Mekong Delta Plan in Vietnam
Published: 8 January 2014
Scenarios important in decision-making for adaptive delta management
Scenarios are important tools in decision-making. They generate a picture of a range of possible developments in the long term, making it possible to assess policy plans in terms of ‘robustness’. Delta Plans depend vitally on information about the sustainable use of land and water, as well as security and resources. Socio-economic factors play a role here. The increased awareness generated by varied long-term presentations of the future will help Vietnam to establish adaptive delta management for the Mekong area. The Vietnamese government works with Master Plans for periods of five years that are based on a single vision of the future. Scenarios sketch a range of possible outcomes, making sustainable and adequately flexible options more relevant.
Knowledge about delta areas needed for scenarios
Knowledge about a delta area is indispensable when it comes to drafting good socio-economic scenarios for a Delta Plan. What impacts will population or economic growth have on the use of land and water? What are the consequences of that growth for security, water quality and sustainable planning? And does that match development ambitions for the future? Deltares has the required scientific and technical knowledge about delta areas.
Four long-term scenarios for using land and water
In collaboration with the Vietnamese stakeholders, four long-term scenarios have been developed for land and water use. They generate a picture of the uncertainties relating to socio-economic developments and the associated measures and investments.
The four scenarios can be seen in the figure below. The scenarios on the left may become reality if land and water continue to be used in the present, inefficient, way. They are both less sustainable because they fail to take the natural situation and advantages of the rich and fertile country into account adequately. For example, fertile land is taken over as a result of urbanisation and industrialisation, requiring extensive protective measures because of the high flood probability. The scenarios on the left take the natural features of the delta into account much more in terms of land and water use, and so the measures required are more efficient and sustainable. The ‘dual node’ scenario is highly dependent on strong economic growth. Land and water use is most flexible and sustainable in the ‘agro-business industrialisation’ scenario. It makes optimal use of the natural conditions and this policy is not necessarily dependent on strong economic growth. If economic growth does turn out to be strong, adaptation is possible. As a result, the policy needed for that scenario has been adopted as the basis for the long-term vision for the Mekong Delta Plan in Vietnam. The other scenarios will remain in the picture in order to test the robustness and flexibility of the various short- and long-term measures.
The Mekong Delta Plan
The Mekong Delta Plan was established in a close partnership involving the Dutch and Vietnamese governments. It supplies a long-term vision and recommendations for the sustainable and safe development of the Mekong Delta. The drafting of the plan was coordinated by Cees Veerman, the special consultant to the Vietnamese prime minister Dung, the former chairman of the Committee for Sustainable Coastal Development (2007-2008) and a former Dutch Minister of Agriculture (2002-2007). Minister Schultz hopes that the Mekong Delta Plan will open up new opportunities for future alliances in the region.