In 2007, the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) [1] recognized deltas as being highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise. Particularly, the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta (Bangladesh), the Nile delta (Egypt) and the Mekong delta (Vietnam) are considered as hotspots for vulnerability.

Given the importance of the Mekong Delta (Vietnam) and the Mississippi Delta (the United States) for food security and socio-economic development, the governments of the United State of America and Vietnam jointly agreed to establish the Research Institute for Climate Change (DRAGON-Mekong Institute). Since then, a strong partnership has been forged between United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Can Tho University.

The DRAGON abbreviation stands for the Delta Research and Global Observation Network. The DRAGON-Mekong Institute is a member of a larger DRAGON Network, which aims to establish a global information network, enhance cooperation and share long-term experiences among global deltas in general, and between the Mississippi Delta and the Mekong Delta in particular. The Institute is designed to become a recognized center of excellence for research and scientific knowledge transfer to decision-makers, managers and local communities at a wide range of levels – provincial, regional, national, and international. The Institute supports the adaptive capacities of deltas to climate-related hazards and natural disaster risks, promotes socio-economic development, sustainable values, and the conservation of natural ecosystems.

On September 12th, 2008, the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, declared the year 2009 as “The year of climate change”. Additionally, research activities to support the Mekong Delta to respond to climate change and sea-level rise have received special attention from the Vietnamese government. In particular, the Government issued Resolution 120/NQ-CP on sustainably developing the Mekong Delta in adaptation to climate change, which sets up goals for 2050 with a vision to 2100 [2].

The DRAGON-Mekong Institute has developed dedicated scientific teams for applied research on the impacts of climate change to the environment, natural resources and socio-economic development, as well as the capacity to address local authorities and communities needs to cope with environmental and climate change. The DRAGON-Mekong Institute continues to foster its network through national and international partnerships and dialogue.