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Completion of climate adaptation strategy leads to new Memorandum of Understanding Ho Chi Minh City and Rotterdam

8 Apr 2013

Monday, 8 April 2013, the completed climate adaption strategy of Ho Chi Minh City will be offered during an official gathering at Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Head office

Monday, 8 April 2013, the completed climate adaption strategy of Ho Chi Minh City will be offered during an official gathering at Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Head office. Next Ho Chi Minh City and the City of Rotterdam will sign a new Memorandum of Understanding. Ho Chi Minh City is one of the cities in the knowledge network Connecting Delta Cities.

Ho Chi Minh City is a densely-populated delta city in Viet Nam and regularly deals with flooding due to its low position in the delta and heavy rainfall. The problems city residents are experiencing and the risks they face will only increase as a result of the predicted rising sea levels, increased water discharge from rivers and rising temperatures. At the same time, the city population and economy are growing rapidly.  In response to this rapid growth, the city has been expanding toward the flood prone areas along the coast.  A third of the city is already exposed to flooding at present. Between the growing population - having doubled in the past twenty-five years - and Ho Chi Minh City's attraction as a city to move to, the urbanisation continue to increase. If Ho Chi Minh City's master plan through to 2025 is implemented, the built surface will increase by fifty per cent and two-thirds of the city will regularly flood.

Dutch consortium led by Grontmij

Rotterdam and Ho Chi Minh City's cooperation emerged from the international network Connecting Delta Cities (CDC) set up by Rotterdam. Ho Chi Minh City views Rotterdam as an example delta city in the field of water management and climate adaptation. In 2011 the Dutch and Vietnamese governments together with the City of Rotterdam signed an agreement to develop a strategy to climate proof Ho Chi Minh City. The local government of Ho Chi Minh City, the Dutch consortium Vietnam Climate Adaptation PartnerShip (VCAPS) and the City of Rotterdam have been actively working together since that time. The VCAPS consortium is a partnership led by engineering consultancy Grontmij and consists further of Witteveen + Bos, Bosch Slabbers landscape architects, Ecorys, Institute for Environmental Studies and the Triple-A team. Vice-mayor Ms Alexandra van Huffelen (Sustainability, City Center and Public Spaces): 'Rotterdam is a city in which a lot of knowledge in the field of climate adaption has already been and continues to be developed. This is done in close collaboration with the business community and knowledge institutes of our region, creating new business opportunities.  The cooperation and support of the consortium is a good example.'  This project was funded by Partners for Water and is part of the Global Water Program (Ministry of Infrastructure & Environment).

Climate adaption strategy

Ideas and measures for the protection and liveability of the city for the short, medium and long term were developed, together with the Ho Chi Minh City departments concerned, in intensive work sessions. Just like in Rotterdam, climate change is being seen as an opportunity for a more attractive and economically robust city. Project manager Mr Enrico Moens of Grontmij: 'The strategy was developed on the basis of six principles. Based on these principles, we are proposing, for example, that construction no longer take place every where but only where the soil and water permit. Tidal locks are also installed to protect the city centre from flooding.  Through design research with stakeholders, we determined where it is possible to adapt to the water and where flood protection is necessary. Adapted housing can be built at some locations of new urban areas. Think for example, of houses that can withstand water or even be elevated so they will not get wet, such as mound dwellings. The quays or (ring) dikes would be the best solution to protect the existing city. A concrete action plan has been developed together with the Vietnamese for the implementation of the climate adaption strategy.

New phase

Alexandra van Huffelen will be signing the new Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the City of Rotterdam: 'The established climate adaptation strategy is the start of a new phase for which Rotterdam has been explicitly requested to continue to play a role, especially when it comes to securing responsibilities and increasing the knowledge of the various government agencies.' The cooperation agreement will formalise this. In addition, the completed strategy will be shared with member cities in the knowledge network Connecting Delta Cities. 'Delta cities are to some extent similar throughout the world. More and more people are living in these areas, there is a need for more space and the cities are prone to the sea level rise because of their location. The strategy for Ho Chi Minh City could, therefore, serve as a blueprint for an integrated approach to the climate issues in delta cities around the world', according to Van Huffelen. During her visit to Ho Chi Minh City, further business opportunities for Rotterdam companies will be explored. There will also be a focus on collaborating with Vietnam on their drinking water supply. Thus, vice-mayor Van Huffelen – together with Evides Waterbedrijf management – will visit the water company SAWACO and a development project of Water for Life. 

Rotterdam Climate Initiative

The Rotterdam Climate Initiative (RCI) is aiming for a 50% reduction in CO2 and 100% resistance to climate change in 2025. The RCI is an initiative of the City of Rotterdam, the Port of Rotterdam NV, DCMR Environment Service Rijnmond and Deltalinqs, the umbrella organization for Rotterdam’s industrial sector. As an energetic and innovative world port, Rotterdam – along with the city’s people, businesses and institutions – is taking responsibility for a sustainable future. By seeking to tackle both the causes and the effects of climate change, improving air quality and limiting noise pollution, Rotterdam’s sustainability policy is comprehensive and dynamic. This unique approach makes Rotterdam an inspiring example for other cities. Its ambitions and accomplishments in the field of the environment, climate, energy and water management all contribute to a clean, green, healthy and wealthy city – Rotterdam is the world's most sustainable port city.


Source: hollandinvietnam