HCM City to strengthen adaptation to climate change

As one of the 10 cities expected to be hit the hardest by climate change, HCMC will work out specific solutions and policies and use more resources to effectively cope with climate change.

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This was informed at the Symposium of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) of the Asia-Pacific Region on “Climate Change Response - Actions of Lawmakers Towards Sustainable Development Goals” which opened in HCMC on May 11.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said Vietnam, like most other Asia-Pacific countries, especially littoral and small island nations, suffered from the perils of climate change. 

According to climate change scenarios in Vietnam, by the end of the 21st century, about 40% of the Mekong River Delta, 11% of the Red River Delta and 3% of the other coastal areas may have been submerged.

“Some 10-12% of Vietnam’s population will be directly affected, with a loss of about 10% of GDP. In particular, 20% of HCMC may be inundated,” she emphasized.

As it is predicted to be highly vulnerable to climate change due to natural conditions (at the mouth of the Saigon-Dong Nai rivers and low terrain), plus rapid urbanization, HCMC is faced with many environmental and social security issues.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said HCMC is one of the 10 cities in the world most vulnerable to climate change.

With an area of over 2,000 square kilometers and a population of more than 10 million, HCMC is a special city with a leading GDP growth rate, an average of 9.6% per year in 2011-2015, said Politburo member and secretary of the HCMC Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan.

The city represents 23% of GDP, 30% of total budget revenue, more than a quarter of export turnover and 44% of total foreign investment in Vietnam. 

Its labor productivity is three times over the national average.

A big challenge for HCMC

However, in addition to the above growth figures, domestic waste, domestic water demand and traffic density per square kilometer in HCMC are currently 17 times over the country’s average. This is a great challenge to the task of ensuring a better living environment for citizens, making the city more fragile.

“Scientists believe the factors with the strongest impacts on HCMC are temperature, rainfall and flood tides. Over the years, urban inundation, upstream salinity intrusion and rising sea levels have been affecting production, clean water supply, infrastructure and urban life,” Nhan said.

In this situation, HCMC has worked out appropriate policies and measures to cope with climate change at various levels, integrated in many fields such as planning, energy, transport, construction, waste management, water management and agriculture.

The city has joined the activities of the C40 (the group of leaders of cities around the world committed to reduction and adaptation to climate change) and taken part in the endeavor to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

HCMC is currently working with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to study the formation of legal institutions and a legal corridor, taking steps towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement in 2015. 

The city also cooperates with Osaka (Japan) in a program for developing a low-carbon city, and with the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands in the program “HCMC Moving towards the Sea with Climate Change Adaptation.”

Nhan told the opening ceremony, “We have decided to develop HCMC into the first smart city in Vietnam, with a healthy living environment for all people as a top priority.”

The IPU’s Symposium on “Climate Change Response - The Action of Lawmakers Towards Sustainable Development Goals” will last until tomorrow. 

It is attended by more than 200 congress delegates of 24 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and representatives of international organizations among others.

Within three working days, the event focuses on four groups of content: discussion of sustainable development goals, with a focus on gender equality and health in the context of climate change response, discussion of challenges, opportunities and actions for climate change adaptation; discussion of international commitments and the role of legislative bodies; mobilization of resources to achieve sustainable development goals in general and respond to climate change in particular.


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