26.5 Engaging LOCAL Stakeholders IN Flood Management towards Living with Flood IN the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Tan Sinh Bach , National Institute for Science and Technology Policy and Strategy Studies, Hanoi, Vietnam
The concept of living with flood has existed in the the Mekong Delta for many generations. Flood has not been considered as disaster when people in the Delta only live in the cities and did not cultivate rice during the flood season. Since 1975 after unification of the country the Government implemented the resettlement policies to bring people from the North to the less density areas of Mekong Delta and set up new economic zones. The problem starts to emerge then when these newly resettled people live in the inundation areas and cultivate rice three times including the one during the flood season. To cope with the harms caused by flood, a number of technical solutions have been proposed such as building the high dykes to prevent the flood, setting up a number of residential clusters to avoid people suffering from flood. However, due to the narrowly defined solutions which view the governance of flood mainly from technical aspects, thus solving one problem has led to creating another problem such as the construction of many dykes preventing flood has slowed down the flow of flood, thereby prolonging flood. Resettlement in a new residential cluster to avoid flood puts people in difficulties such as limited job creation and earning options for farmers. It is therefore not a sustainable solution. 
Recently the notion of management of flood has changed from controlling flood to living with flood. the People Committee of An Giang Province has been promoting the idea of living with flood through the encouragement of local stakeholders including farmers in re-vitalizing their traditional knowledge and adaptive capacity in exploring benefits created by flood to improve their livelihoods. The Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, together with other departments and social organizations have been instrumental in assisting farmers in the An Giang Province to develop alternative livelihood options including replacing the traditional rice cultivation with other agricultural and aquacultural practices during the flood season.  
The case of An Giang Province illustrates how various stakeholders (local government, civil society organizations, the international development organizations and people in Province) have been interacting to cope with the flood impacts and sustain their livelihood for present and coming years. However, the local capacity of living with flood is becoming challenged in the context of new climatic and environmental nature created from climate change and more infrastructure development in the upstream of the Mekong River. 
The paper draws some lesson learned from An Giang case regarding the role of stakeholders in shaping the way the flood is managed and the implication for the national policies on flood management.