Friday, November 3, 2023

Exploring a new decision support tool for climate change adaptation in Vietnam's Mekong River Delta

10 Oct 2023, Hanoi, Vietnam — Vietnam's Mekong River Delta (MRD), known for its agricultural significance, is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, making this endeavor crucial for the region's sustainability and food security. In an effort to address the challenges posed by climate change and foster adaptive capacity in MRD, stakeholders from various sectors such as policy/ government, research institutions, etc. recently for a consultation workshop on the application of the Prioritizing Agronomy in Changing Environments (PAiCE) tool. This decision support tool, developed through a partnership with the CGIAR Initiative on Excellence in Agronomy (EiA), aims to identify and prioritize climate change adaptation options for the crop production sector in MRD. During the workshop, participants engaged in discussions on how to effectively adapt and apply the PAiCE tool to enhance the resilience and adaptability of crop production in the face of climate change impacts.

In his welcome remarks, Mr. Le Thanh Tung, deputy director general of the Department of Crop Production (DCP), emphasized the need to identify suitable crops for future cultivation. He underscored the necessity to address climate change while ensuring food security and income stability for the population. He also stressed the importance of leveraging modern technology and knowledge dissemination among provinces and communities and expressed hopes that the PaiCE tool would become an integral part of the national action plan proposed to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Dr. Robert Caudwell, International Rice Research Institute’s (IRRI) country representative to Vietnam, emphasized in his opening message the urgent need to tackle climate change impacts, especially in MRD. With an expected increase in droughts, salinity intrusions, and floods, the region's crop production sector faces significant threats. Dr. Caudwell highlighted the PAiCE tool's potential to identify top adaptation options and enhance adaptability and resilience in crop production, considering economic efficiency, climate variability, and social equity considerations.

Dr. Nguyen Van Hung, senior scientist at IRRI and country focal point for EiA, delivered a comprehensive presentation on the functionalities of the PAiCE tool. He explained that the tool utilizes climate change scenarios, natural disaster forecasts, and provincial data to evaluate the risks associated with crop production and prioritize adaptation measures. By ranking crops based on economic contributions and assessing damages caused by natural disasters, the tool assists in the identification of suitable adaptation options for different sites and provinces.

During the workshop, participants engaged in group discussions to identify the most beneficial and feasible options under local conditions. Stakeholders also deliberated on the effectiveness and scalability of the selected adaptation options, sharing their perspectives and seeking agreement on the priority of adaptation methods assessed by PAiCE in the context of Long An, Can Tho, and Tien Giang provinces.

Dr. Nguyen Van Hung summarized the workshop's outcomes, stating that based on data collected from surveys and other sources, the PAiCE tool is viable for implementation in Vietnam. He outlined the next steps, which include developing cooperation between CGIAR/IRRI and national partners, piloting the tool in select districts, organizing conferences in each province to demonstrate its usability, and integrating the tool with other climate change adaptation frameworks in crop production. Plans were also made to ensure the tool is easier to use at the local level and that climate change scenarios are integrated to identify prioritized adaptation measures.

Dr. Kazuki Saito, senior scientist at IRRI and regional lead for Southeast Asia of EiA, recognized the importance of data and encouraged all stakeholders to work towards accurate and comprehensive information for informed decision-making. Key action points were presented to the team such as continuously improving the tool based on valuable feedback, emphasizing water management techniques alongside sustainable land use practices, and ensuring adaptation measures cater to the needs and perspectives of national, provincial, and farmer-level stakeholders.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Le Thanh Tung reiterated the significant role of the PAiCE tool in facilitating informed decision-making for climate change adaptation. He emphasized the need to determine the appropriate scale of operation, whether at the province, district, or commune level and to implement measures in areas with similar characteristics.

The consultation workshop, organized jointly by DCP, EiA, and the CGIAR Initiative on Asian Mega-Deltas, concluded with a commitment to utilizing the insights gained from the discussions to ensure sustainable crop production practices in MRD.


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