ASEAN to take immediate steps to combat drought in SE Asia

ASEAN-member countries have vowed to take immediate action to resolve problems caused by worsening drought in Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, which is especially susceptible to global warming.

ASEAN to take immediate steps to combat drought in SE Asia
Speakers at the Building Resilience Drought Southeast Asia dialogue held yesterday in Can Tho. VNS Photos Bo Xuan Hiep

Speaking at a meeting on Tuesday in Can Tho, Intani Nur Kusuma, senior officer at the Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Division of the ASEAN Secretariat, said that a declaration on drought would be adopted by leaders at the ASEAN Summit to be held in Vietnam in November next year.

ASEAN has worked closely with relevant sectors to help the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management draft the declaration, she said, adding that drought-related activities need to be integrated into the future action plan of ASEAN.

To mitigate the impact, drought risk assessment and early-warning services should be improved through the sharing of data from space-based technologies.

Risk-financing instruments as well as improvement of people’s awareness of the effects of drought are also needed.

Tiziana Bonapace, director of the Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESACP), told Việt Nam News: “Climate change has already happened. Now is the time to adapt instead of fighting it.”

“Southeast Asia is faced with intensification and a changing geography of drought, and of disaster risk in general, as climate change converges with social, environmental and economic stresses.

“Regional co-operation, especially among nations benefiting from the Mekong River, is needed to support national efforts to manage drought through data, technology, innovations, policy and financing options,” Bonapace said.

“The best solution is no single solution but a multi-approach solution,” she added. “Negotiations and dialogue are also needed among all the countries involved based on science and technology and evidence.”

“Our new analysis shows disasters in the region are having more impact than previously thought. Much of the increase is due to the quantification of agricultural drought losses, which was not reported before,” she noted.

Nguyen Truong Son, deputy head of the Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority, said the Mekong Delta and Central Highlands regions were facing abnormal weather that could be attributed to climate change.

The Mekong River levels in June and July significantly fell compared to previous years, raising concern of exacerbated drought and saline intrusion for the entire Mekong Delta in the 2019-20 dry season.

In the Central Highlands, rainfall in the dry season has dropped considerably compared to previous years, while temperatures have been 0.5-1 degrees Celsius higher than average, sparking serious droughts that have threatened vast tracts of natural forests as well as crops.

Economic losses

No Southeast Asian country can afford to ignore drought when trying to mitigate the economic impact of natural disasters, according to experts.

Bonapace said the significance of economic losses due to agricultural drought was consistent across all countries for which data is available.

“The agricultural losses are highest in Indonesia. In Vietnam, we estimate it to be around US$6.5 billion or 3 per cent of GDP,” she said.

Disasters continue to erode economic gains. Ultimately this means that disasters will limit the ability of economic growth to eradicate poverty.

“According to our study, the economic models show that without disasters, Vietnam is expected to completely eradicate extreme poverty by 2030,” Bonapace said.

According to the Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2019, annual economic losses in Asia Pacific more than quadruple when slow-onset disasters, most notably drought, are added to the region’s disaster risk landscape.

 

The average annual loss for the region is $675 billion, of which $405 billion, or 60 per cent, is drought-related agricultural losses.

In Southeast Asia, the average annual loss is higher than the Asia-Pacific regional average, reaching $86.5 billion or 3 per cent of the regional GDP.

The average annual loss is highest in Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

According to the 2019 Report Ready for the Dry Years report, though starting slowly, drought can have a devastating cumulative impact, striking hardest at the poor and heightening inequality and degrading land, all of which increases the prospects of conflict.

According to the report, there will be many more dry years ahead, and the area affected by drought is likely to shift and expand.

The report was jointly produced by ESCAP and ASEAN as part of their disaster-risk reduction efforts.

Dying river

Experts have recently expressed concern about a number of dams impeding the Mekong Delta’s flow, drying up many parts of the once fast-flowing river and leaving the region facing serious drought.

Le Cong Thanh, deputy minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said an increasing number of dam constructions in the Mekong River were “posing a great burden on the 4,700-kilometre Mekong River basin, especially on the Mekong Delta”.

As a result, millions of people who depend on the river for their livelihoods in Vietnam, China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand will be seriously affected.

ASEAN to take immediate steps to combat drought in SE Asia
Intani Nur Kusuma, senior officer at the Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Division, speaks at the Building Resilience Drought Southeast Asia dialogue held yesterday in Can Tho.


The Mekong River Commission, a regional intergovernmental agency that manages the river’s water resources, said that all the “dams in the upstream Mekong River countries contribute to worsening drought in the region”.

The river’s water levels last month recorded their lowest level in 60 years. Other estimates suggest that water levels have dropped to their lowest level in a century, the commission said.

Lower freshwater river levels mean that saltwater levels in the delta could rise, threatening rice-growing and agriculture in general, while agriculture irrigated by the river could suffer if nutrient-rich sediment is blocked from flowing downriver by dams.

The Mekong River, which originates in China and snakes through five Southeast Asian countries, is emerging as a new security flashpoint, experts have warned.

The river begins in the Tibetan Plateau, stretches through much of mainland Southeast Asia, and ends in the Mekong Delta.

The one-day Building Resilience Drought Southeast Asia dialogue was co-organised by the Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority, ESCAP, and the ASEAN Secretariat. — VNS

Bo Xuan Hiep

Vietnam's Mekong Delta needs to be innovative to overcome climate change: experts

Vietnam's Mekong Delta needs to be innovative to overcome climate change: experts

The Mekong Delta Region needs to be more innovative in production to grow sustainably in the context of climate change and environmental and integration challenges, experts have said.  

Vietnam's Mekong Delta needs urgent measures to prevent drought, saline-intrusion

Vietnam's Mekong Delta needs urgent measures to prevent drought, saline-intrusion

Immediate measures and long-term plans should be implemented quickly to help provinces in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta cope with drought and saline intrusion, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Le Cong Thanh has said.

 
 

Other News

.
Twitter hack: FBI investigates major attack
Twitter hack: FBI investigates major attack
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  17/07/2020 

Hackers managed to hijack official accounts of high-profile US figures in an apparent Bitcoin scam.

A gaur killed at Cat Tien National Park
A gaur killed at Cat Tien National Park
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  16/07/2020 

Cat Tien National Park Management and police in Dong Nai province, southern Vietnam, are hunting for four poachers suspected of killing a gaur, a rare and precious species of animals in Vietnam.

Endangered sea turtle returns to the sea after rescue
Endangered sea turtle returns to the sea after rescue
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  15/07/2020 

The Cham Island’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) management board has released a female Olive Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys Olivacea) – an endangered species – after five months of care at the Da Nang-based SaSa Marine animal rescue team.

Hanoi faces rubbish pile-up following compensation dispute
Hanoi faces rubbish pile-up following compensation dispute
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  15/07/2020 

Rubbish has piled up on Hanoi streets after local people living near a local dumping site gathered to block trucks from entering the waste treatment complex.

Crowd blocks way to Nam Son landfill for land clearance and compensation
Crowd blocks way to Nam Son landfill for land clearance and compensation
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  15/07/2020 

A crowd of 15-20 people in two communes of Nam Son and Hong Ki in Hanoi’s Soc Son District on Monday night made makeshift tents, blocking the way to the Nam Son Waste Treatment Complex or Nam Son dumping ground.

Smart City Asia 2020 slated for September 3-5
Smart City Asia 2020 slated for September 3-5
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  15/07/2020 

The 2020 edition of the international forum and exhibition Smart City Asia will take place in HCM City from September 3 to 5, heard a press conference held by the Vietnam Digital Communications Association (VDCA) in Hanoi on July 14.

UNESCO launches programme seeking innovative ideas for ocean without plastic in Vietnam
UNESCO launches programme seeking innovative ideas for ocean without plastic in Vietnam
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  14/07/2020 

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in cooperation with the Cu Lao Cham - Hoi An World Biosphere Reserve officially launched in Hanoi on July 14 a call for Youth Innovative Ideas for an Ocean without Plastic.

‘Make in Vietnam’ Vsmart Aris 5G mobile phone in international press
‘Make in Vietnam’ Vsmart Aris 5G mobile phone in international press
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  15/07/2020 

News about the launch of Vsmart Aris 5G smartphone made in Vietnam by VinSmart has appeared in Forbes, The New York Times, Reuters and The Star.

‘Queen of primates’ through the lens
‘Queen of primates’ through the lens
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  14/07/2020 

The red-shanked douc langurs, recognized as ‘queen’ of the primate species, have always been the inexhaustible inspiration of photography and wildlife lovers.

HCM City's many flood-prevention programs still not solving problems
HCM City's many flood-prevention programs still not solving problems
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  14/07/2020 

Tens of trillions of dong have been spent to develop the flood control system on HCM City, but the situation appears to be getting worse.

Ministry to conduct a large-scale inspection on junk SIM cards
Ministry to conduct a large-scale inspection on junk SIM cards
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  13/07/2020 

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has said it plans to deal with telecom waste and continue large-scale inspections of junk SIM cards.

Vietnam to commercialise 5G in October
Vietnam to commercialise 5G in October
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  13/07/2020 

Vietnam will commercialise 5G network in October using entirely domestically produced equipment, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).

HCM City takes steps to reduce vehicle emissions
HCM City takes steps to reduce vehicle emissions
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  13/07/2020 

Ho Chi Minh City is carrying out multiple methods and programmes to reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions in its aim to create a "clean, green and beautiful" city.

Keeping Phu Quoc Island clean and safe
Keeping Phu Quoc Island clean and safe
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  13/07/2020 

Phu Quoc Island has a deserved reputation for its pristine beaches and stunning landscapes, but pollution is starting to have a negative impact on its sustainable development.

Vietnamese scientists make potential cancer breakthrough
Vietnamese scientists make potential cancer breakthrough
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  15/07/2020 

Scientists of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) have succeeded in synthesising platinum complexes which have cytotoxicity on cancer cells and have the potential for treating cancer.

Six-man squad protects animals in Son Tra Peninsula
Six-man squad protects animals in Son Tra Peninsula
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  13/07/2020 

Son Tra Nature Reserve is known as the “green lung” of Da Nang City with a diverse eco-system and thousands of flora and fauna species.

Binh Duong fines 87 units for environment violations in first half
Binh Duong fines 87 units for environment violations in first half
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  11/07/2020 

Eighty-seven facilities were fined for environmental violations in southern Bình Dương Province in the first half of 2020, according to local Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

Will the sand in the Red River be depleted in 100 years?
Will the sand in the Red River be depleted in 100 years?
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  13/07/2020 

Ninety percent of sediment is trapped in Chinese and Vietnamese reservoirs, which will lead to erosion, according to Mai Van Bieu, an underground-work expert.

HCM City aims to reduce water pollution by 90 percent
HCM City aims to reduce water pollution by 90 percent
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  11/07/2020 

HCM City authorities have ordered the city Department of Natural Resources and Environment to work with agencies and district authorities to strictly monitor the discarding of litter and untreated sewage in canals in the city.

Forest fires a burning problem during dry season in Vietnam
Forest fires a burning problem during dry season in Vietnam
SCI-TECH & ENVIRONMENTicon  10/07/2020 

As many as 160 forest fires were reported across Vietnam in the last six months, destroying about 756ha of forest, according to the Vietnam Fire and Rescue Police Department under the Public Security Ministry.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN