DELTAS2013 VIETNAM: World Delta Dialogues II
Ecosystem Solutions in a World of Unintended Consequences
International sector and governmental leaders assembled in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to consider the state of the world’s working deltas and how global cooperation will lead to sustaining these valuable ecosystems in service to people, commerce and the environment.
DELTAS2013 was a unique gathering of global representatives from the many sectors and political circles that converge in watershed management, especially in the complex trans-boundary dynamics of the Mekong. National leaders discussed solutions to some of the most acute challenges facing Vietnam and its delta, the broader Mekong River system, and major deltas and watersheds worldwide.
With a focus on the overarching factors of governance and political will, sustainable agriculture, functional floodplains and compatible infrastructure, the key issues addressed include:
- The relative impact of unintended consequences that can alter the environmental and economic productivity of ecosystems
- Decision-making support networks and the advantages of comprehensive planning
- Development scenarios and Mekong Delta ecosystem sustainability
- Community adaptation to climate change and sea-level rise
- Mechanisms for multi-party cooperation and conflict resolution
- Critical knowledge and data gaps related to watershed management and policy making.
DELTAS2013 helped to identify the challenges and scientific needs that must be met to sustain one of Southeast Asia’s most precious resources. In the process, conference participants shared best practices and integrated management strategies to ensure that the world’s most fragile and productive ecosystems – its rivers and their deltas – can meet the demands of future generations.
In 2010, the first World Delta Dialogues was hosted by the America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) in New Orleans, Louisiana, where representatives from 15 nations – more than 400 leaders from government, business and industry, NGOs, science, engineering, and academia – all applied their expertise to deltaic sustainability issues. Following the success of DELTAS2010, AWF was invited by Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City (VNU-HCMC) to host a similar event in Ho Chi Minh City.
AWF and VNU-HCMC have since collaborated closely with the Kingdom of the Netherlands and an array of international partners to organize a multidisciplinary conference that brought together an international group of experts and decision makers to focus on the critical challenges facing the world’s deltas.
Using the Mekong Delta as a lens, the event’s theme was “Unintended Consequences” and the lessons that can be learned from development scenarios pursued in the United States’ Mississippi River Watershed and others worldwide.
DELTAS2013 provided a forum to examine integrated planning strategies that advance the intertwined goals of political stability, economic growth, community enrichment and environmental health. Working groups within the conference promoted global collaboration among deltaic regions with the goal of arriving at a “Communiqué of Cooperation,” identifying priority issues, challenges and solutions.
DELTAS2013 drew in part on content developed by the America’s WETLAND Foundation’s Big River Works initiative, which examined the health and sustainability of the Mississippi River. Leadership forums held during 2012-2013 in New Orleans, LA; Memphis, TN; St. Louis, MO; Minneapolis, MN; and Chicago, IL generated findings related to several aspects of integrated watershed management and deltaic sustainability, including: ecological, economic, and community resiliency and adaptation; restoration, protection and ecosystem valuing; community and culture; energy and economic development; resiliency and disaster protection; international cooperation and leadership support.