Chosen as the venue for the APEC 2017 Economic Leaders’ Week from 05-11 November this year, Da Nang – the coastal city and major economic centre of Vietnam, is distinct for its vibrant development in line with sustainable ecosystem. The vivid impression of Da Nang as not only a dynamic city with urban lifestyle but also an ancient city which preserves various Vietnamese traditional values can imprint in anyone’s mind who set foot in this place. It is noteworthy to have a look at Da Nang’s efforts and future plan in accomplishing environmental sustainability which is part of the reason why it is considered as Vietnam’s “worth-living” and smart city.
The very first achievement of Da Nang in creating and developing a sustainable living environment can be traced back to when it was awarded the title “ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City” by ASEAN national committee on 17th ASEAN Summit on 23 November 2011 in Bali, Indonesia. At that time, Da Nang made a history by being the only city in Vietnam to be given this reward, along with 9 other cities in Southeast Asia. This was regarded as a concrete motivation for the endeavours of Da Nang authorities to promote a greener city until 2020. Steps taken by the authorities in realizing its vision in remediating and celebrating the natural environment can be specified as follows.
Between mid-2010 and the end of 2012, the city developed its vision by collaborating with the German Organization for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) as part of a €1.5 million project. The plan sets forth specific goals that link to the global sustainability agenda and the city’s economic, social, and environmental aspirations. The three overarching goals leading the plan include:
- establishing Da Nang as an environmental city, emphasizing land, water, and air quality while providing a safe and healthy environment for people, investors, and domestic and foreign tourists;
- preventing environmental pollution and degradation while encouraging environmental rehabilitation;
- facilitating awareness of environmental issues among Da Nang’s residents, international and local organizations, and individuals working in Da Nang.
Following this, one of the greatest attempts of Da Nang so far is the launch of Sustainable City Development Project (SCDP) which is financed by The World Bank (WB). Its key objective is to facilitate the sustainable development of Da Nang through improving its urban environment and using energy effectively. SCDP has 5 components, comprising:
- Drainage and Wastewater Improvement (Component 1),
- Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Development (Component 2),
- Urban Strategic Roads (Component 3),
- Technical Assistance and Capacity Building (Component 4),
- Transferred Activities of Da Nang Priority Infrastructure Investment Project (Component 5).
The project will cost a total of 272.135 million USD, made up of 202.435 million USD of International Development Association (IDA) credit from the WB, and 69.7 million USD of Da Nang’s counterpart funding. In addition, upon the completion of the project, Da Nang would become the first city in Viet Nam to have comprehensive and extensive wastewater collection and treatment systems which meet national standards, and the city residents will benefit from the advanced infrastructure services of a sustainable city.
Thanks to the help from The World Bank, Da Nang is stepping closer to translate its city environmental plan into action through a series of targeted investments in energy efficiency and green infrastructure. Ms Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Country Director for Viet Nam said she hoped that the project would be implemented effectively and smoothly with high quality; and provide a model “green city” for sustainable urban development, which will inspire the development of other cities in terms of urban services such as drainage, wastewater collection and treatment, public transport, and BRT system development.
In brief, Da Nang is on a path to show how it can manage rapid expansion without drastically increasing its levels of energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions and become the leading city in Vietnam in environmentally sustainability.
By Nguyen Thu Thao, ASEAN Correspondent from Vietnam