AFD partners with Vietnam to support resilience of Vietnam’s cities

The Memorandum of Understanding formalizes and deepens the existing cooperation between the Ministry of Construction of Vietnam and AFD toward sustainable and resilient cities.

The French Agency for Development (AFD) has pledged to help the cities of Vietnam strengthen their resilience to climate change and natural hazards.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Deputy Minister of Construction of Vietnam Le Quang Hung and the AFD's Executive Director of Geographies, Philippe Orliange, in Hanoi on May 12, the two sides will conduct a five-year action program running from 2022 to 2027.

Delegates attend the MOU. Photo: the Embassy to Vietnam

The signing took place in the presence of the Vietnamese Minister of Construction Nguyen Thanh Nghi, and the French Ambassador to Vietnam Nicolas Warnery.

The Memorandum of Understanding includes support to the Urban Development Agency (UDA) for the development of public policies and regulatory texts relating to climate change, resilience, and green growth in cities, as well as assistance to several cities and provinces in the implementation of pilot projects, and the organization of seminars and joint awareness-raising actions.

These activities are expected to realize the commitments made by Vietnam at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) and will be financed by the Water and Natural Resources Management Facility (WARM), a European Union fund delegated to AFD.

Under the cooperation between the Ministry of Construction and AFD, which was launched in 2017, several training workshops and a joint seminar on the resilient city have been held. It also supported Quang Tri Province and the City of Dong Ha in preparing an urban project aiming to protect the city from floods and strengthen the resilience of its population to natural disasters and to climate change.

Vietnam is considered one of the countries most exposed to the effects of climate change. Rising temperatures and sea levels, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, combined with population growth and urbanization, are exacerbating the risk of hazards, coastal erosion, and flooding throughout the country. 

The growth of cities, which has been one of the main drivers of Vietnam's economic growth since the 1990s, has significantly improved people's access to employment and essential services such as energy, water, health, education, and recreation, and has provided an essential infrastructure base for the country's development. 

However, this rapid urbanization may also have increased the vulnerability of the population to climatic hazards, particularly due to the artificialization of land and urban sprawl in natural risk areas such as flood plains.

At the COP26, Vietnam made a determined commitment to address the effects of climate change, including the goal of achieving “net zero emissions” by 2050. The choice of a sustainable and carbon emission reduction development must contribute both to solving the climate crisis and to accelerating the country’s economic transition.

The Ministry of Construction of Vietnam and AFD are therefore joining forces, through this

Memorandum of Understanding, to implement the ambitious commitments made by Vietnam at COP26 in the urban sector. 

Cities have a key role to play in achieving these ambitions: they concentrate the majority of carbon emissions (particularly through the construction and transport sectors) and are responsible for urbanization choices that will determine the country's future (taking into account natural risk areas such as floods or landslides when locating new buildings, ecological and low-emission construction techniques). 

Cities are also the most likely to strengthen the resilience of their inhabitants to climate change by protecting them from the risks of natural disasters while facilitating their access to essential services such as health and employment.

Hanoi Times

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