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Piloting Climate-Resilient and Green Growth Approach in Đông Hà, Viet Nam

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The Vietnamese government aspires for its cities to become climate-resilient and pursue a green economic development. That is why the Green Growth Development Plan is now in effect in the country.

CDIA is conducting a project preparation study (PPS) in Đông Hà City to prepare an integrated infrastructure investment project that will demonstrate what concrete measures can be done on the ground to build resilience and encourage green growth in Vietnamese cities. The PPS is funded by the European Union (EU) and Agence Française de Développement (AFD).

“Our goal is to support the city overcome its infrastructure gaps and develop its potential to address not only climate resilience but also create employment and improve livability,” says Fabienne Perucca, CDIA Urban Development Specialist managing the PPS. “More than this, we hope to demonstrate how Viet Nam’s Green Growth Development Plan can be implemented in cities.”

With a population of 100,000, Đông Hà is the provincial city of Quang Tri in north-central Viet Nam, at the foothills of the rolling mountains with three rivers running through it. Along with rapid urbanization, it faces climate-related challenges and needs to tackle the consequences of increased flooding, riverbank erosion, rainfall intensity and sea-level rise.

The city itself has the potential to grow rapidly and become a model of green city in Viet Nam. It is located along major transport and commercial corridors; and it has water bodies that can provide environmental services and climate benefits, and offer an opportunity for vibrant public spaces and recreation.

“Unfortunately, Đông Hà has not been able to fully benefit from these opportunities and the city is still under-served and hosts vulnerable populations. The income of residents is lower than the provincial average in Viet Nam, and was severely impacted during the Viet Nam War,” says Fabienne.

Đông Hà’s updated Urban Development Masterplan offers an opportunity for green growth with the integration of natural and ecosystems approach, and open space planning. In particular, it targets to create landscaped areas and urban agriculture sites, and encourage tourism by making Hieu River the central axis of the town.

Earlier discussions among the People’s Committee of Quang Tri Province, Đông Hà City and AFD laid the foundation of an investment project on urban development, green growth and adaptation to climate change, known as “Thanh Pho Xanh” or TPX. The goal is to support the city improve livability, address urban climate resilience, and pursue green and inclusive socio-economic growth.

Through the PPS, CDIA will formulate a sustainable and integrated infrastructure investment, including feasibility and preliminary engineering design, to prepare the project for downstream AFD financing.

Among the investments considered include the creation of river embankments, drainage and storm water management infrastructure, measures for climate change adaptation and enhancing livability, as well as other services focusing on low-income areas. CDIA will introduce landscape and green infrastructure approach to make the investments more beneficial to the city and improve the sustainability of the proposed actions.

CDIA will also conduct stakeholder consultations, hydrology/hydraulics investigations, climate vulnerability assessments, and environment and social impact assessments.

Additionally, it will develop a roadmap for capacity development to strengthen the effective implementation of the interventions. CDIA will work closely with the Urban Development Agency of the Ministry of Construction from the national level to the appropriate departments at the provincial and local levels to support the implementation of green growth approach in Đông Hà and enable replication in other cities. EU’s Water and Natural Resource Management (WARM) Facility is expected to provide grant funding to implement the key components of the roadmap.

“Lessons learned from project implementation will help strengthen the link between the intent and implementation of Viet Nam’s green growth urban development aspirations, to identify limitations and problems in operationalizing the national plan,” says Fabienne. “TPX will also pilot the concepts of urban resilience, thereby identifying good practices and pitfalls from the experience.”

A workshop was conducted on 11 January 2022 to share the progress made by the PPS team at the inception phase, with emphasis on proposed subprojects for investment, among others. The PPS is expected to be completed in June 2022.

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