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UCCRTF’s Okju Jeong on water sensitive urban design in Viet Nam

April 2021

Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) is being implemented in Asian cities to improve urban environments and build resilience to shocks and stresses such as those caused by climate change. Through the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund (UCCRTF), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is using WSUD in the Secondary Green Cities Development Project and the proposed Ho Chi Minh City Climate Resilient Urban Services Project, which integrates the concept in four cities in Viet Nam: Vinh Yen, Hue, Ha Giang, and Ho Chi Minh.

 

The WSUD approach is being used to rehabilitate ponds, parks, and rivers in the project cities, providing multiple benefits, including recreational opportunities, more attractive cityscapes, and building climate resilience.  It is a component of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) that uses the natural environment to respond to environmental, economic, and social challenges. It involves the integration of water cycle management with the built environment through urban planning and design.

Speaking at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change  side event at this years’ Climate Adaptation Summit, Urban Planning and Climate Change Specialist Okju Jeong said the WSUD approach is suitable for fast-growing cities in Asia, which are vulnerable to climate risks. However, to scale up NbS in countries like Viet Nam, where the concept is still new, multiple barriers and opportunities exist. Okju notes that “While there are many co-benefits associated with NbS in theory, they have to be demonstrated in the local context”.

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The relative lack of NbS adoption in Asian cities highlights the importance of UCCRTF’s work, providing essential pilot studies that can provide evidence for the efficacy of NbS approaches. Ms. Jeong said that through UCCRTF’s experience, they had learned some important lessons about how to implement NbS effectively, including the importance of political leadership, effective communications and community participation, and the need for local knowledge. Implementing a small-scale pilot project was also a good entry point to convince stakeholders of the potential of NbS to deliver the necessary services at scale.

Learn more about the ADB’s approach to WSUD from this publication produced by ADB and the UCCRTF in collaboration with Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl.