From national vision to implementation

governance challenges in sustainable agriculture transitions in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta region

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This study identifies how the governance of the transition to sustainable agriculture in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta is constrained by a lack of leadership, coordination, and funding. The Vietnamese Mekong Delta region is an important agricultural region yet highly vulnerable to climate change. In 2017, the Government of Vietnam issued Resolution 120, which calls for a transition towards sustainable development and climate change resilient agriculture in the delta. We evaluated the governance of implementing this resolution using an established transition governance framework, based on policy document analysis, ethnographic observations and interviews with national government agencies and ten departments in the delta provinces An Giang and Ben Tre. The analysis indicates that delays are caused by fragmented central government leadership and that friction exists between top-down plans and bottom-up action taken by the provinces in the delta. The transition is further constrained by the absence of inter-provincial coordination and funding mechanisms. Overall, this study shows that the required governance structure exists on paper but highlights how an insufficient governance process constrains climate change adaptation in Vietnam.