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May 02, 2022 / 21:10

Australia extends assistance to Mekong Delta

Australia’s support of the Mekong Delta dated back to 1981 when Canberra offered scholarships to local leaders for the region's long-term development.

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie visited the Mekong Delta in Vietnam in late April 2022 to reaffirm Australia’s long-standing commitment to Vietnam’s priorities for the sustainable development of the region.

The Mekong Delta region, which is home to over 17 million people, is an important source of production, including exports to Australia, and home to biodiverse river and wetland habitats.

 Ambassador Robyn Mudie cuts the ribbon to launch the water kiosk at Tan Hue Primary School, Dong Thap Province. Photos: Embassy of Australia in Hanoi

Since 2000, Australia has contributed over A$650 million (US$458 million) in development assistance to the region. This includes strengthening infrastructure, productivity and competitiveness, public services, skills development and innovation.

Australia has made a significant contribution to linking the region to the rest of the country in supporting the construction of the My Thuan Bridge and the Cao Lanh Bridge, Australia’s largest ever aid investment in mainland Southeast Asia.

In November 2021, Australia committed A$232 million ($163 million) for the Mekong‑Australia Partnership that supports skills, economic resilience, trade and investment, environmental resilience, and cyber and infrastructure security.

In addition, Australia has supported 280 scholars from the Delta provinces to undertake study at Australian universities and nearly 100 leaders to complete training in areas such as education, food safety and public sector leadership since 1981. This long-term partnership and enduring people-to-people links demonstrate Australia’s deep commitment to the region.

During the trip to the region on April 28-29, Ambassador Mudie met with provincial leaders, private sector representatives, university and development partners to ensure that the Australia-supported activities will support sustainable development in the Mekong Delta.

 Ambassador Robyn Mudie meets Tran Viet Truong, Chairman of Can Tho People’s Committee.

“Australia recognizes the importance of this productive and populous region to Vietnam’s vision for prosperity, resilience and security,” said Ambassador Mudie. “Australia is committed to supporting Vietnam to maintain economic and environmental sustainability in the region and provide a bright future for the people who call the Delta home.”

While in the region, Mudie discussed the complex and ongoing environmental challenges facing the Mekong Delta exacerbated by the impacts of climate change and transboundary water issues in the Mekong basin.

Australia and Vietnam agreed on a joint statement of commitment towards practical action on climate change in November 2021. In line with this commitment, Australia is supporting climate smart rice farming and environmental management in the Delta.

The ambassador visited the Tram Chim National Park where Australia’s support is transforming the environmental management systems of the park through innovative technological solutions.

She also came to Tan Hue Primary School where Australia has funded infrastructure to provide fresh drinking water for students.

During the visit, Ambassador Mudie also discussed opportunities for Australia and Vietnam to work together towards inclusive, private sector-led growth and sustainable development in the Mekong Delta provinces. In November 2021, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the finalization of the Australia-Vietnam Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy (EEES) which will support the joint ambition of becoming top ten trade partners and doubling the two-way investment. The Ambassador discussed opportunities in the Mekong Delta to support these goals.

The visit reaffirms Australia’s commitment to the socio-economic development in the Delta provinces as part of its long-term partnership with Vietnam.

 Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie visits Tram Chim National Park, Dong Thap Province.