Integrated Coastal Management Programme (ICMP)

The project “Intergrated Coastal Management” is addressing the various interlinked challenges the Mekong Delta is facing by supporting the Vietnamese authorities in their efforts to strengthen the coastal area and to cope with the environmental changes occurring there, while opening the way to sustainable growth.

The Challenge

The Mekong Delta is home to 17 million people and is Viet Nam’s most important agricultural region. Producing 55 % of the country’s rice, the Mekong Delta feeds more than 245 million people world wide. Thanks to this region, Viet Nam, a country which once suffered from shortages of rice, is now the world’s second largest exporter. The Delta is also the country’s third largest industrial region after the metropolitan areas of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

But the Mekong Delta is facing existential threats. Climate change is leading to rising sea levels, and according to official studies, 39% of the Mekong Delta could be underwater by the year 2100. Some areas of the coast are already eroding by 30 metres a year. The mangrove forests along the coast, which protect the hinterland from floods and storms, are in dramatic decline. In early 2016, the Mekong Delta experienced the biggest drought in 90 years, which together with rising sea levels led to a heavy intrusion of saltwater into rice growing areas.

These changes threaten the future of the Mekong Delta and its ability to provide the essential ecosystem services that the communities of the Delta and millions of people around the world depend on.

The Programme

The Integrated Coastal Management Programme (ICMP) tackles these interlinked challenges by strengthening the coastal zone of the Mekong Delta. The aim is to support the Vietnamese authorities in preparing the coastal area for a changing environment and to lay the foundations for sustainable growth.

Our Approach

Initiating a comprehensive response to climate change

ICMP supports Vietnamese authorities to develop an innovative, coordinated and comprehensive response to climate change in the Mekong Delta. This includes more coordination among the key actors, which will be facilitated by a new pilot regulation for regional coordination in the Mekong Delta. Climate-responsive planning and budgeting measures are aimed at ensuring that climate-related plans and policies are also properly budgeted and can thus be implemented.

Protecting people and land from extreme weather events

The programme contributes to better protecting 720 kilometers of coastline of the Mekong Delta against extreme weather events like storms and floods. This is expected to make more than 3.5 million people safer against impacts of climate change. The key instrument to achieve this is an Integrated Coastal Protection Plan for four Mekong Delta provinces, including recommendations for concrete coastal protection investments in four coastal provinces. The idea: Using the ecosystem to protect the coast where possible, but building hard infrastructure such as dykes or concrete wave breakers where necessary.

Supporting farmer in adapting climate change

ICMP supports farmers in applying new techniques that will enable them to better cope with climate change, earn a higher income and protect the environment. We do this, for example, by reducing the need for water and pesticides in rice production by up to 30%, while raising farmer incomes by 40%. We also enable smallholder farmers in gaining better access to markets and to the value chain, for instance by strengthening cooperatives or agricultural business clusters.

As agriculture depends on water, more than 14,000 kilometres of canals are brought under better management with the support of ICMP, which equals the distance from Germany to Australia. This is bringing 767,000 hectares of agricultural land under more sustainable use and benefits around 1.2 million people who live in rural households in the area.


  • More than 7 million people in the Mekong Delta are better protected against the effects of climate change through the contribution of ICMP.
  • ICMP contributes to better protecting 720 kilometers of coastline of the Mekong Delta against extreme weather events like storms and floods. This is expected to make more than 3.5 Million people in coastal districts safer against the impacts of climate change.
  • The programme developed feasibility studies which serve as a direct preparation for investments of 110 million EUR which are currently being prepared, especially in the area of coastal protection.
  • ICMP supported the development of a pilot regulation for regional coordination in the Mekong Delta which was approved by the Prime Minister. The regulation is expected to make the climate policies and investment of 13 Mekong Delta provinces more effective and efficient.
  • ICMP supported the development of the coastal forest policy. The policy included the afforestation of 46,000 hectares of new coastal forest by 2020 which provide ecosystem services worth approximately 102 million USD annually, as well as carbon sequestration of around 13.2 million tons of CO2 equivalent, which is equivalent to around 2.7 milion cars driven for one year.
  • The programme has successfully introduced T-Shaped breakwater fences to Viet Nam which in some sites stop erosion of up to 30 metres per year and in other sites restore up to 180 metres of land which had been lost to the sea. This new land consists of mud flats where mangroves and other plants can grow.
  • ICMP implemented 25 livelihood models for 10,800 households, benefiting around 43,000 people. The livelihood models reduced environmental pressure and increased the income by 20-80% per household.
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Integrated Coastal Management Programme


Implemented by:


Ministry of Agriculture and rural Development (MARD) Viet Nam

Duration: 2011 – 2017
Partner: Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
Type: Climate Change Adaptation, Technical Cooperation
Keywords: Coastal Management | Coastal Protection | Ecosystem-based Adaptation

The project contributes to the following SDGs:


Further Readings & Documents