Measuring the resilience impact of UCCRTF interventions in cities in Viet Nam
Image: UCCRTF endlining study underway in Viet Nam. Credit ADB
Interventions by the ADB’s Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund (UCCRTF) have had a positive effect on the perceived resilience of target cities in Viet Nam, according to initial findings from a series of endline studies. End lining studies took place across 17 cities, in 4 counties (Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines and Viet Nam). The studies, conducted in early 2022, were designed to measure the impact of UCCRTF investments on the resilience of communities, compared to baseline studies conducted in the same cities in 2018.
The endline assessment followed the same approach as the baseline data collection process, with city stakeholders asked a combination of 102 qualitative and quantitative questions to form a resilience profile for each city. Questionnaires were also circulated in cities where household surveys were conducted during the baseline assessment, to get beneficiaries’ perspectives. The assessment was complex and involved several different data-gathering methods, underscoring the intricacies of urban resilience that operates at multiple dimensions, scales, geographies and contexts.
Endline results for cities in Viet Nam
At the city level, cities were scored against four resilience dimensions: ‘leadership and strategy’, ‘infrastructure and ecosystems’, ‘economy and society’, and ‘health and wellbeing’. Three of the five cities reported increased perceived resilience across most dimensions (Dong Hoi, Hoi An, and Vinh Yen) whereas the city of Ha Giang saw its resilience scores fall across all dimensions. The results for Hue city were mixed, showing increased perceived resilience in two dimensions, and falls elsewhere.
While some cities revealed an increase in resilience dimensions at the city level, there was a tendency for this to be combined with an overall decline in perceptions of resilience at the household level. One reason of this, could be due to a lag between UCCRTF project execution at the city level and the impact being felt at the household level. Further studies would be needed on longer timescales to understand whether the resilience impacts were being felt by local communities.
The results highlight the highly contextual nature of resilience building in cities. Each city faces unique challenges and have varying capacities to adapt. Measuring perceptions of city resilience, also means that there is likely to be differences based on the views of the people interviewed. As such the resilience scores are not cross-comparable between cities.
Vietnamese cities faced multiple shocks and stresses since the baseline survey was carried out in 2018, not least the COVID-19 pandemic and several major flooding events. Stakeholders and the city and household level reported that COVID-19 had a major impact. City stakeholders reported that these events impacted the economy, with increased costs of food and healthcare. Cities with a high reliance on tourism, such as Hoi An, experienced significant reductions in their scores under the ‘economy & society’ resilience dimension.
In general, cities with Early Warning Systems (EWS) in place saw an increase in their household resilience. However, thanks to COVID-19, there was a noticeable reduction in EWS alerts originating from churches or mosques, and neighbors or relatives. The pandemic also affected the speed at which UCCRTF interventions could be implemented, which likely reduced the impact of the measures during the study period.
Understanding the degree to which UCCRTF interventions contributed to the increase scores is also difficult. However, in several cases respondents mentioned resilience changes in relation to specific UCCRTF interventions, providing evidence that they had impact. The section below breaks down the endline results for cities in Viet Nam.
Breakdown of results for cities in Viet Nam
Baseline scores from 2018 suggested that Dong Hoi required improvements across all resilience dimensions, particularly the diversification of livelihoods and employment, to reduce the vulnerability of its residents, especially when faced with an emergency. Dong Hoi’s household scores revealed low perceptions of recovery and resilience, with 65% of those surveyed feeling they were unable to recover from the last shock and stress they experienced. Surveyed households’ perceptions of their community were also generally low.
Dong Hoi’s endline scores showed increases across all dimensions, demonstrating that city officials perceive that the city is better prepared for shocks and stresses, safeguard its citizens and diversify economic opportunities to enable residents to respond in the event of a crisis. In particular, a large increase (from 2.8 to 4.05) in ‘Health and well-being’ was observed from 2018 to 2022. Also noted was an overall increase in government interaction with infrastructure delivery and the provision of health and social services to local people.
Insights from UCCRTF’s City Resilience Officer (CRO) in Vietnam, highlight that from 2018 there 2022 there has been overall increase in activity by government in infrastructure delivery, and provision of health and social services to local people. COVID-19 also impacted the city’s economy significantly. In response to this, there has been investment from national government to diversify the economy including of tourism sector. These efforts have likely influenced the increased scores across all dimensions.
UCCRTF activities may have contributed to an increase in the ‘Critical Infrastructure’ dimension (3.8 to 4.8) with city respondents highlighting that ADB-supported projects have helped reduce the risk of riverbank and shoreline erosion. Additionally, UCCRTF activities have been attributed to the increase of safeguards to human health through the raising of awareness of disaster resilience for both residents and the government.
Baseline results for Ha Giang in 2018 found that the city had strong levels of resilience supported by effective leadership, a strong tourism industry and a range of employment opportunities. While most of Ha Giang’s dimensions obtained high scores, the ‘Infrastructure and Ecosystems’ dimension received a lower score, highlighting that the city could benefit from strategic investment in sanitation, disaster protection and transport infrastructure.
Ha Giang’s endline scores showcased decreases across all dimensions. The largest reduction was observed under the ‘Health and Wellbeing’ dimension, largely due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods, employment opportunities and human vulnerability.
UCCRTF activities were not viewed as having a positive impact on the city resilience dimensions for Ha Giang. Feedback from the CRO points to delays resulting from COVID-19 as decreasing the score in the ‘Integrated Planning’ dimension. The pandemic restricted the ability of international experts to deliver support in the country, delaying project implementation. Despite this, the city maintained a high score in the perception of its effective leadership, demonstrating that city leadership remained committed to supporting the city despite the challenges faced.
Baseline scores for the city of Hoi An revealed a high perception of resilience across three dimensions – ‘Health and Wellbeing’, ‘Economy and Society’ and ‘Infrastructure and Ecosystem’. The ‘Leadership and Strategy’ dimension received the lowest score, indicating a need to improve Hoi An’s local leadership and management, empower city stakeholders, and enhance development planning approaches to make them more integrated and inclusive. Hoi An’s household results revealed low perceptions of recovery and resilience with 31% of those surveyed feeling they were unable to recover from the last shock and stress they experienced. Surveyed household’s perceptions of their community were also generally low.
Hoi An’s endline scores showcased increases across all dimensions. The ‘Leadership and Strategy’ dimension saw a large increase (3.86 to 4.88) with smaller increases observed for the other three dimensions. Insights from the CRO reveal that climate hazards, such as typhoons and flooding events, have prompted the government to invest more in the protection of the city to ensure that the city’s heritage remains protected and celebrated. This was reflected in the high score under the sub dimension of ‘Collective Identity & Community Support’- a score that rose from 4 to 5 in the endlining.
As the city has a high reliance on tourism and the service economy, COVID-19 impacted the city’s economy significantly. In response to this, there was a decrease in perceptions of sustainable economy (reducing from 4.3 to 3.6) under Economy and Society dimensions.
UCCRTF activities may have contributed to an increase in the ‘Integrated Planning’ dimension (4.25 to 5) with city respondents highlighting that flood forecasting and EWS have been integrated across communications, crisis management procedures and evacuation planning. The strengthening of disaster response across the city also likely supported the positive perception of sustained effort from the city in the ‘Safeguards to Human Health’ dimension (remained at 4.2).
Baseline results for Hue highlighted diversity in perceptions of the city’s resilience, with the city receiving overall moderate levels of resilience across all dimensions. The lowest score was allocated to Hue’s integrated planning, while the highest score was awarded to its good practices around security and law. At a household level, more than half of those surveyed felt that they were unable to recover from the last shock and stress they experienced. Surveyed household’s perceptions of their community were also generally low.
The perception of Hue’s resilience, from the perspective of city government representatives, revealed a slight increase across the ‘Leadership and Strategy’ and ‘Health and Wellbeing dimensions. However, these scores were accompanied by a slight decrease across the ‘Infrastructure and Ecosystems’ and ‘Economy and Society’ dimensions.
UCCRTF activities may have contributed to an increase in the ‘Integrated Planning’ dimension (2.75 to 4) with city respondents noting that activities under the Green City Action Plan provide a comprehensive understanding of shocks and stresses and help to identify multi-disciplinary actions that strengthen capabilities across all parts of an urban system. However, reduced scores were observed in both the ‘Safeguards to Human Health’ and ‘Reduced Exposure’ dimensions despite UCCRTF support.
The 2018 baseline results for Vinh Yen highlighted moderate levels of resilience across all dimensions. Vinh Yen had many characteristics that support its resilience including effective leaderships and safeguards for human health. However, the results also indicated that the city had areas for improvement. Vinh Yen’s lowest score was for the provision of critical infrastructure, suggesting that further investment in this area is required. This was reflected in a high proportion of the community living without a sewage system (30%). Vinh Yen’s household results revealed low perceptions of recovery and resilience with over half of those surveyed feeling they were unable to recover from the last shock and stress they experienced. Surveyed household’s perceptions of their community were also generally low.
Vinh Yen’s endline scores showcased increases across all dimensions. Particularly notable was an increase (from 3.49 to 4.83) in the ‘Infrastructure and Ecosystems’ dimension. High perceptions of leadership and strategy were also observed for the city. Local insights reveal the city government’s expertise in engaging with the private sector and foreign investment as a likely contributor. Additionally, upcoming development projects and completed infrastructure investments have likely resulted in the increase across all scores in the ‘Infrastructure and Ecosystem’ dimension.
Community-led initiatives, in addition to engagement activities undertaken as part of the formulation of the Green City Action Plan, may have contributed positively to the perception of empowers stakeholders, resulting in an increase in the ‘Empowered Stakeholder’ dimension (4 to 5). The ‘Reduced Exposure’ dimension also received an increase (3.67 to 5) which may be a result of UCCRTF’s support on the provision of geospatial tools and analysis through the Spatial Data Analysis Explorer (SPADE), an interactive cloud-based platform that can host geospatial information.
 The urban resilience measurement project, carried out under TA 9217, is designed to provide evidence to feed into the UCCRTF’s wider Design Monitoring Framework (DMF), specifically impact indicators 1 and 3. Indicator 1: At least 50% of the poor and vulnerable in cities that have had a UCCRTF-supported intervention have improved their resilience by 2026. Measures the overall benefits to poor and vulnerable populations of changes in the larger system of urban planning and investment. Indicator 3: Estimated costs due to the effects of climate change reduced by at least 15 % across all UCCRTF cities by 2026. Measures the changes in the resilience of individuals (poor and vulnerable people) to climate change, because of UCCRTF activities.