On August 30 – 31, 2017, GGGI Assistant Director-General, Per Bertilsson, traveled to the Mekong Delta, Viet Nam to kick off GGGI’s work on “Biomass energy development planning until 2020, with outlook to 2030 for Soc Trang province”. His mission also included a visit to Ben Tre City, where GGGI is working to establish wastewater treatment in the city.
The Mekong Delta is known as the “rice bowl of Viet Nam”, providing a large share of agricultural production, this however is threatened as the region is already feeling the full force of climate change. Within the Delta, Soc Trang and Ben Tre provinces are extremely vulnerable to climate change, regularly facing flooding and droughts. Saltwater intrusion has had a large impact on agricultural production and domestic water supply, both in the rainy and dry seasons.
Per Bertilsson was encouraged to be in Viet Nam speaking with GGGI’s government and development partners, noting “We have a strong country program with an ambitious strategy for the future to realize green growth in Viet Nam”.
The workshop in Soc Trang was co- organized by Viet Nam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), GGGI and Soc Trang People’s Committee. The workshop is under the framework of Memorandum of Understanding between GGGI and Viet Nam Ministry of Industry and Trade on scaling up renewable energy in Viet Nam. It was attended by high-level representatives from MOIT, Vice-Chairman of Soc Trang Provincial People’s Committee and government provincial authorities.
The project aims to increase the amount of electricity produced by agricultural waste through an assessment of the energy potential and the development of bankable projects. This will enable the province to access finance for construction of the necessary waste-to-energy plants. Specifically, the project will develop a provincial waste-to-energy action plan to include: i) Assessing potential waste-to-energy options, ii) location of waste-to-energy plant(s), and iii) Prioritization of options. The work will also provide strategic policy advice to the government in order to clearly show where project implementation on the ground is frustrated by current policies.
The GGGI Assistant Director General’s mission to Ben Tre City enhanced the strategic cooperation between GGGI and the City government, and to hand-over the Feasibility Report on a “Wastewater Management System for Ben Tre city”. The meeting was well-attended by the Chairman of Ben Tre City People’s Committee and core officials from relevant departments.
The feasibility study aims to enable the city to develop a low-cost, climate resilient and low-energy option for wastewater management and treatment, which is expected to lead to ADB financing. The project will greatly enhance the lives of Ben Tre’s residents who currently have no access to wastewater treatment.
On the same day, GGGI, together with the government, examined key pollution sites around the city. The team inspected the scale of the current challenge. Currently there is no wastewater treatment plant in Ben Tre and all domestic and business waste is discharged directly into the Chin Te canal, which then leads to the main river. As a result of this the water is thick and particularly black causing wide spread pollution for the environment and a major health risk. Thus there is an urgent need for a wastewater treatment plant.
Adam Ward, GGGI’s Country Representative in Viet Nam said “this wastewater treatment plant is essential for the environment and wellbeing of Ben Tre’s citizens. Through our work together we were able to advise Ben Tre to establish a low carbon, climate resilient option for wastewater treatment for the city, while also linking up with the ADB to ensure the city has access to the necessary finance for construction”.
Mr. Per Bertilsson added “While visiting the provinces it was clear to me their ambitions to move ahead with green growth, through projects such as clean energy and wastewater treatment. GGGI is committed to work with the government to access finance to scale up their current plans for green growth and to see the necessary implementation of the green growth action plan”.
Through the fruitful discussion and productive exchanges, both the government partners and GGGI have explored potential areas for further collaboration.