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ADB helps Vietnam develop green, resilient cities

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the provincial People’s Committees of Ha Giang, Vinh Phuc and Thua Thien-Hue on July 6 signed project agreements totaling 223.87 million USD for the Secondary Green Cities Development Project.

The project will support environmentally sustainable and inclusive development in the provincial capital cities of Ha Giang, Vinh Yen and Hue to enhance their economic competitiveness, according to a news release issued by the ADB on the same day.

“The ADB will help the cities of Ha Giang, Vinh Yen and Hue integrate green features into their urban infrastructure, such an energy efficient street lighting and nature-based embankments,” said Eric Sidgwick, ADB Country Director for Vietnam.

“Building on ADB’s support in preparing Green City Action Plans for the three cities, this project will demonstrate how the right mix of integrated urban planning and blended financing can improve livability, resilience and economic opportunities in cities,” he said.

Because of rapid urbanisation, almost all 31 million people living in cities in Vietnam are facing emerging socio-economic and environmental challenges. Unlike the five centrally administered cities, the development of secondary cities is lagging. Many communities in these cities are becoming increasingly vulnerable to climate change and disaster risks.

Secondary cities’ slow development not only prevents them from contributing to the country’s socioeconomic growth but also reduces job opportunities and results in worsening livable environments for locals and migrant workers. Responding to such a city’s complex socioeconomic and financial constraints requires strategic support in upstream city planning and the identification of effective investments.

The Vietnamese Government and the ADB jointly selected Ha Giang, Vinh Yen and Hue as demonstration cities because they represent different socio-economic characteristics, developments constraints, and geographic locations.

The total project investment includes 3 million USD in grant financing from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and 3 million USD from the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund (UCCRTF), which is supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Governments of Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In addition, the technical assistance accompanying the project is 12.8 million USD, of which 10.8 million USD will be financed by the GEF and 2 million USD by the UCCRTF.

“While demonstrating green city development, the project, supported by grant financed technical assistance,  which will also help formulate a regulatory framework for sustainable and resilient cities that will be scaled up for nationwide secondary green city development in Vietnam and pilot test disaster risk financing for Hue,” Sidgwick added.

Expected to be completed in December 2023, the project will help the three cities improve green and resilient urban infrastructure services and scale up climate adaptation that will benefit about 116,000 households, including about 6,100 poor and near-poor households. For all subprojects, the provincial People’s Committees will strengthen institutional capacity for urban development management.

The Manila-based ADB is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members, of which 48 from the region. In 2017, the ADB operations totaled 32.2 billion USD, including 11.9 billion USD in co-financing.