The Mekong Environmental Symposium 2013 opened in Ho Chi Minh City on March 5, attracting more than 300 delegates from 20 countries.

At the three-day gathering, decision makers, scientists and businesspeople from both inside and outside the region will discuss and elaborate on challenges facing the Mekong Basin, especially impacts of the changed use of forestry land, climate change, and urbanisation of rural areas, as well as of hydropower plants on the environment and socio-economic life of residents along the river.

They will also present measures, aimed at increasing the cooperation among Mekong countries namely Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, with a view to limiting negative impacts on the river.

At the symposium, experts from Vietnam and Germany announced results of the Water-related Information System for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam (WISDOM).

Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Viet Thanh said that the project has built a database on water resources in the Mekong Delta, which will serve as a basis for Vietnam to use the water resources for agricultural and aqua-cultural development in the Mekong Delta in the most efficient and suitable manner.

The event is being organised by the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology in coordination with the German Aerospace Centre and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Mekong River plays a very important role for regional countries, whose combined GDP accounts for more than 10% of the global economy.