VietNamNet Bridge – Two of the earth's great river systems, the Mekong and the Mississippi, will be the focus of global deltaic leaders who will gather in HCM City this week for a conference.

Speaking about "DELTAS2013VIETNAM: World Delta Dialogues II" to be held from May 19 to 23, King Milling, chairman of the US-based America's WETLAND Foundation, said: "We come to the Mekong Delta both in search of answers and to leverage what we have learned in attempting to restore one of the most productive US assets, the Mississippi Delta."

The foundation hosted the first World Delta Dialogues in New Orleans, the US, in October 2010, with 15 deltas represented.

An action agenda to both help draw attention to coastal land loss issues and create solutions was adopted by delegates who represented governments, NGOs, science, engineering and cultural groups.

In the face of hastened sea level rise due to climate variations, along with subsidence and river system development, the conference's second edition will address some of the world's most challenging issues.

"World populations, agriculture, and industry rely on coastal regions at a time when vulnerabilities are increasing in these very places," Dr Le Quang Minh, deputy president of the Viet Nam National University – HCM City, said.

"After the first event in Louisiana, we returned to the Mekong Delta with a better understanding of how much we have in common and offered to host the second world meeting in HCM City."

The theme this time will be centred on preventing "unintended consequences," or actions related to managing river systems that later create negative and costly consequences.

Stephen Gambrell, executive director of the Mississippi River Commission, will discuss this theme at the event.

He will illustrate the unintended consequences of river management decades ago that have left coastal areas in the US losing land at one of the fastest rates on the planet.

"The Dutch have more than 800 years of water management expertise to share, and one of our most important observations might be the need for societies to make room for their rivers and build with nature," Martien Beek, first secretary at the Dutch embassy Ha Noi, said.

Source: VNS