MIDES as an innovative water solution at climate Roundtable
The 8th meeting of The Hague Roundtable on Climate & Security was held on 4 December 2018 at the Embassy of Vietnam to the Netherlands. Some 55 participants from 22 embassies and 15 organizations sought ways to cooperate and explored methods of innovation in climate adaptation. Discussions focused on water resources and cooperation, as well as innovations in agriculture.
A highlighted theme was that countries cannot be successful working alone in adapting to climate impacts, but regional and global education and cooperation are needed. Presentations and following discussions demonstrated how Dutch and Vietnamese cooperation is taking place within the Mekong Delta Plan, as well as other regional initiatives. It was also acknowledged that climate adaptation is becoming a more recognized concept and sometimes achieves mitigation aims, as in restoration of ecosystems.
The Ambassador of Vietnam to the Netherlands, H.E. Mrs. Ngo Thi Hoa, opened the meeting stating, “Vietnam is among the world’s countries most affected by climate change – with likely implications in sea level rise, extreme weather events, food security, and more. It is not only an environmental issue but also a development issue, which has enormous economic and social consequences. This is a shared problem in need of a global and multilateral solution to be addressed by all nations working together by sharing experiences, knowledge, financial support, technology and all kinds of resources.”
A five-member delegation from Ministries of Vietnam attended the Roundtable, and presented outcomes of the country’s programs in adapting to climate impacts. Some focus points of these programs include: integrating climate change activities into natural resources management and environment protection through climate monitoring, and proposing both adaptation and mitigation measures. Other points included study on climate action for land use, water resources, and environment management, along with the testing of new technologies to enhance natural resources.
The MIDES project was on display as an innovative water resource project at the Roundtable, as IHE Delft (a MIDES consortium member) is also a participating-partner organization in the Roundtable. Projects such as MIDES that offer nature-based solutions in water resources are becoming increasingly relevant, as more areas are experiencing prolonged periods of drought. Drought is a major concern in various parts of Africa, which was represented at the meeting by embassy representatives from Algeria, Cameroon, Kenya and Tunisia.
In agricultural innovations, Thi Minh Hoang Vo of Wageningen University pointed out current climate risks of land subsidence, fresh water supply, saline intrusion, floods or droughts. Potential adaptation systems that are in use included floating rice farming, lotus-based farming, and shrimp/mangrove farming integration.
It was stressed that there are not absolute sustainable strategies in agricultural and development adaptation. Such approaches need to be flexible upon implementation, while taking into account multiple factors and stakeholders.
In her presentation on prospects of water cooperation and cooperation, Susanne Schmeier of IHE Delft posed questions for participants:
- Is upstream water resources development on the Mekong a risk to Vietnam?
- Can risk be mitigated through better water management, adaptation or changes in economic planning?
- How can development interests in the basin/across riparian states be balanced?
- How can Vietnam engage neighboring (upstream) countries in basin-wide water resources management?
- How can water resources use issues be linked to the broader regional cooperation agenda?
Presentations at the Roundtable included:
- Projects from the Vietnam National Scientific Program to respond to climate change & future cooperation: Pham Nam Hung, Department of Climate Change, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources
- Prospects of Conflict and Cooperation in the Mekong Basin, from Dr. Susanne Schmeier of IHE Delft Institute for Water Education
- Vietnamese – Dutch challenges: Water and climate issues in Delta countries, from Robbert Moree of the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water
- The Global Center on Adaptation and the Global Commission on Adaptation, from Michel van Winden, the Global Center/Dutch MFA
- Innovation and farmers adapting to climate change in Mekong Delta, Thi Minh Hoang Vo, Wageningen University
- Typhoon impacts and resilience, Dennis Wagenaar, Deltares
A complete report on this meeting will be published in January 2019 on the Roundtable website: www.hagueroundtable.com
The Hague Roundtable on Climate & Security is an independent forum to promote international cooperation in adapting to climate risks to human well-being, sustainable development, peace and political stability. Created in 2015, participants from representatives of governments and organizations meet for informal conversations to share information and strategies in adaptation regarding water resources, natural disasters, floods, droughts, sea level rise, migration, potential conflict and stability of fragile states.
For more information, contact Matt Luna, Roundtable Creator and Organizer: firstname.lastname@example.org