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Fostering Solutions and Collaboration for a Sustainable Mekong River Delta

1st Mekong Virtual Symposium

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 • 10:00 PM – 11:30 PM EDT


Wednesday, July 15, 2020 • 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM ICT 

Fostering Solutions and Collaboration for a Sustainable Mekong River Delta

As part of the U.S. Vision for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific the U.S. government is committed to providing a platform that encourages information sharing, dialogue, collaboration, and stakeholder engagement for cooperative, responsible management of the Mekong River. The U.S. engagement with the Mekong region has long emphasized cooperation on water-related policy and program activities.  This engagement  builds trust among partners and stakeholders and strengthens cooperation not only on water issues but for natural resources management more broadly.


This program will engage key stakeholders about the importance of managing drought and salinity and how to mitigate the adverse effects of saltwater in delta ecosystems. The Mekong River is home to one of the most productive and biodiverse river ecosystems in the world with over 1,100 species of fish.  The Mekong River provides freshwater for these ecosystems and for agriculture, fisheries, drinking water, transportation, and energy. Every year, saltwater intrusion, or the presence of saltwater in inland rivers or groundwater, renders freshwater resources unusable for agriculture or drinking.  Saltwater intrusion in the Mekong River, and especially in the delta, is exacerbated by drought, sea level rise, and lower water levels in the river from increasing dam and infrastructure development.  


This program on managing drought and salinity builds upon existing efforts in the Mekong region to strengthen collaboration and dialogue on water issues and solutions, and supports the Mekong Water Data Initiative (MWDI).  The MWDI aims to strengthen the capacity of Lower Mekong countries to collect, analyze, and manage water and water-related data in order to reduce water-related risks and promote sustainable economic development across the water, food, energy, and environment nexus.


U.S.-based experts engage with Mekong stakeholders to identify strategies and methods to foster longer-term information sharing, collaboration, and expert consultation. This program benefits regional mid-level water, rural and urban development, energy, environment, and health ministry officials, water resource managers and utility operators, academics, and civil society in the Lower Mekong region.


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Dr. Nguyen Huong Thuy Phan,

Graduate Institute Geneva, Development Policies and Practices Executive Master Program

Dr. Phan Nguyen is a specialist in water and climate change. By training she has a Doctor of Engineering in Water Resource Development. Phan has more than 25 years of combined experiences in hydropower development projects in the South of Vietnam, coastal engineering projects in the Gulf of Thailand, climate change risk assessment programmes in the Vietnam’s Red River Delta and the Lower Mekong Basin (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam), and higher education programmes in development studies in South East Asia.  


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Dr. Van Pham Dang Tri,

Vice Dean, College of Environment and Natural Resources, Can Tho University

VAN Pham Dang Tri (Assoc. Prof., PhD.) is currently one of the Vice Deans at the College of Environment and Natural Resources at Can Tho University, Viet Nam. With a wide range of scientific background, he focuses on holistic research on integrated water resources management, irrigation, hydrodynamics modelling and possible impacts of climate change on behaviors of the different river networks, and on agriculture and aquaculture in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. VAN Pham Dang Tri is presently participating in different national and international projects as either a project manager or a technical advisor.

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Ms. Nguyen Hong Phuong,

Deputy Director General of Vietnam Mekong Committee 

Ms. Nguyen Hong Phuong is Deputy Director General of the Viet Nam National Mekong Committee Secretariat. Ms Phuong has over 20 years of working experience in different agencies, programs and projects in water and environment. Prior to joining the Viet Nam National Mekong Committee Secretariat in 2007, she was Viet Nam National Program Coordinator of the Mekong Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use, a joint Program of UNDP, IUCN, and MRC. Ms Phuong holds a bachelor’s degree in Water Resources Engineering from the Ha Noi Water Resources University, Hanoi, Viet Nam, and a master’s degree in Water Resources Engineering and Management from the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand.

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Mr. Kib Jacobson,

Project Manager, Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation 

For the past 18 years Mr. Jacobson has been the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program Manager and Chief of the Water Quality Group. As the Program Manager he has been responsible for implementing the Title II Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program that was authorized by Public Law 93-320. Mr. Jacobson has spent his professional career of 40 years as a public servant working in different capacities in the Upper Colorado (UC) Region of the Bureau of Reclamation located in Salt Lake City, UT. Mr. Jacobson has a M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Utah State University, Logan UT.

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Mr. Malcolm Wilson,

Chief, Water Resources & Compliance Group, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation 

Malcolm Wilson has been the Chief of the Water Resources Group for Reclamation’s Upper Colorado Region located in Salt Lake City, Utah since 2008. Malcolm participated in, and represented the Upper Colorado Region’s interests in, the development of the Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plans. The Water Resources Group is responsible for long term operations of the Colorado River Storage Project reservoirs, including Glen Canyon, Flaming Gorge, Fontenelle, the Aspinall Units, for oversight of all regional water service, repayment and O&M contracts and for Reclamation Reform Act administration. Malcolm also spent 23 years in Reclamation’s Eastern Colorado Area Office in Colorado working in multiple capacities including: overseeing operations and water rights for the Colorado-Big Thompson and Fryingpan-Arkansas projects. Malcolm has a degree in Civil & Agricultural Engineering from Cornell University.

Missed the event ?

Check out the panelist presentations below and the recorded program in English and Vietnamese! We will be sharing answers to audience questions and the full set of comments soon.

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