New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully joined Mr Ha Cong Tuan, Vietnam’s Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, in Hanoi, April 24 to launch the five-year project, which focus on dam safety for the 1000km long Ca River in Vietnam.
The launching ceremony took place on April 24.
At the launching ceremony, Mr McCully said: “New Zealand is sharing its expertise in water engineering and natural hazard management to help Vietnam address its development challenges”.
“Our support will help Vietnam effectively assess dams most in need of repair, coordinate dam owners with officials and communities, as well as upgrade the training curriculum for future water managers”, he commented.
The project aims by 2021 to halve the death toll from flooding on the Ca River and reduce associated economic losses by 30%. Vietnam has been known as a country affected fiercely by climate change which the government is seeking way to cope with.
Vietnam has more than 7000 dams, which are used for irrigation, electricity and drinking water. In the past 10 years there have been 43 unplanned water releases or dam failures, sometimes harming downstream communities.
The Vietnam – New Zealand Dam Safety Project is funded by the New Zealand Aid Program and will be implemented by Vietnam’s Thuy Loi University, New Zealand’s Damwatch Engineering and GNS Science.
Speaking at the launching event, Mr Ha Cong Tuan confirmed: “The event plays as stark example of our two country partnership (Vietnam – New Zealand). After 30 years of development, Vietnam has turned from a poverty country to the one can produce enough to meet the domestic demand. Vietnam government acknowledge the importance of agriculture development and invested significantly to facilitate agriculture infrastructure.”
“Vietnam highly appreciates effective partnership with countries including New Zealand. We established a Comprehensive Partnership in 2009. Vietnam have received large amount of investment from New Zealand in food safety, agriculture, disaster management… The Dam Safety project is among the most important cooperative activities between two nations”, Mr Ha Cong Tuan pressed. On behalf of Vietnam’s leaders, Mr Ha Cong Tuan pledged to boost the project’s speed and effectiveness.
The New Zealand Aid Programme in Vietnam is focused on supporting agriculture, education and disaster risk management. It will invest NZD$ 27m over 2015 – 2018.
Phase One of the Vietnam – New Zealand Dam Safety Project (2012 – 2015) developed a hazard assessment method tailored to Vietnam, which will be rolled out in Phase Two. New Zealand also provides disaster risk management training for Vietnamese officials through its scholarship programme, and provided emergency relief of NZD$ 250.000 following the severe flooding in central Vietnam in late 2016.
New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully is visiting Vietnam on 24 and 25 April. This follows Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Pham Binh Minh’s successful visit to New Zealand in November 2016.