“We can’t do it (adaptation) alone” was the theme of the 8th meeting of the Hague Roundtable that was held on 4 December at the Embassy of Vietnam. About 55 participants from 22 embassies and 15 organizations sought ways to cooperate and explore 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 Vietnamese and Dutch 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.
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.
One of the presentations was given by IHE Delft's Susanne Schmeier. She focussed on prospects of conflict and cooperation in the Mekong Basin and posed questions to the audience:
- 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?
A complete report on this meeting will be published in January 2019 on the Roundtable website: www.hagueroundtable.com.