The Mekong delta is Vietnam’s key rice production area and has a complex and historically evolved system of dykes, sluices and canals designed to reap the benefits of floods while mitigating the damage to life, property and food production. However, upstream hydropower dams, a rise in sea level and changing rainfall patterns have led to uncertainty in how to manage the Mekong’s rapidly changing flow and how to design effective flood management policies.
There is an increasing need for policy makers to formulate flood management policies and strategies that work for a diverse range of stakeholders. Through collaboration with staff from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Vietnam, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Ministry's think tank and training institute IMARD, this project engaged with policy makers and communities to provide decision support in flood mitigation. The team set up a Stakeholder Competency Group made up of representatives of the North Vam Nao Project Management Office, the An Giang Provincial Department of Water Resources and farmers, creating a platform for project co-design and knowledge sharing.
Interdisciplinary training and awareness workshops were held for stakeholders from policy, practice and research in flood management, local knowledge systems, watershed governance and ongoing policy reform in disaster and flood management. Approaches developed by the project, and the issues it has identified, are having a significant impact on the reshaping and development of disaster management policies, practices and research in Vietnam and the wider Mekong region.
"Responding to floods under uncertainty requires inclusive policy-making, including bridging local/lay and scientific/professional knowledge in order to meet the complex needs of a diverse and pluralistic society."
Dr Oliver Hensengerth
Soft Engineering Approaches to Disaster Risk Reduction: A Case Study on Flood Management in the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam
Lead PI: Dr Oliver Hensengerth, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK
Lead PI: Associate Professor Dr Nguyen Thi Lan Huong, Thuyloi University, Hanoi, Vietnam
Project partners: Royal Academy of Engineering