Protecting communities and the economy in the Mekong Delta

Two projects were started as part of the ecosystem-based adaptation initiatives in 2020. Together with the GIZ (German agency for international cooperation, GIZ GmbH), TCCT started a project that aims to reforest mangrove forests in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. Mangroves can store up to three to five times more carbon dioxide than tropical forests, storing it underwater and below ground as long as the forests remain intact, thereby making an important contribution to climate protection. With around 18 million inhabitants, the Mekong Delta is one of the most important economic regions in Vietnam. It is the third-largest industrial region, with high growth rates and a fast-developing infrastructure. The Mekong Delta is also Vietnam’s most significant farming region; 55% of the country’s rice production come from the Delta. The locals’ very existence and the emerging economy are under acute threat from storms, floods and the resulting erosion of the coast.

Image: The reforestation of mangrove forests binds CO2 and protects the coasts of the Mekong from erosion. Copyright: GIZ

The mangrove forest ecosystem is crucial to protecting the Mekong Delta, yet the forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate by pollution and deforestation to create farming land, fisheries or prawn farming. GIZ’s project aims to restore the ecosystem by rehabilitating the mangrove forests, thereby securing the basis of existence for many people.

Protecting tropical forests, securing natural resources

As part of a second project, the TCCT supports the work of the tropical forest charity OroVerde in Latin America. The increasing frequency of droughts, heavy rainfall, floods and tropical cyclones also threatens many regions in the Caribbean and Central America. OroVerde has been working to protect the tropical rainforests there for over 30 years. The charity works on long-term projects that protect the forest and provide the locals with opportunities. Over the next three years Munich Re will be supporting the work of OroVerde on three project areas: Mexico, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Financial means will be used to renew and protect the forests, take measures to regenerate the forest floor and to support local farming. For example, agroforestry systems will be built up in a number of areas. These are agricultural production systems that combine elements of agriculture with forestry. As with a natural rainforest, an agroforest helps protect biodiversity and the forest floor from erosion and degradation. The trees also store water, thereby regulating water supply throughout the entire region. Planting trees in a targeted manner and protecting water sources has been shown to improve the water supply, for example in a project area in Guatemala. A share of donations will also be used to equip fire fighters with protective gear so that they can contain the forest fires, which are also occurring more frequently in the tropics, as quickly as possible.

The goal: to preserve natural resources together with local communities. Copyright: OroVerde/AHömberg