Nha Trang City, 6-7 July 2023 | The two-day workshop on “Innovative Technological Solutions and Accelerate Access to Climate Finance for Vietnamese Cities” was held in Nha Trang City, Vietnam, from 6 to 7 July 2023. The workshop focused on two aspects, innovations and technology and climate finance, and was attended by around 93 participants from 33 cities and towns across Vietnam.
The workshop, organised by the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) Asia Project and the Association of Cities of Vietnam (ACVN) with support from the GCoM Southeast Asia/UCLG ASPAC, discussed the need for cities to strengthen their capacity and highlighted the importance of accessing funding and collaborating with partners. This also featured the efforts of Vietnamese cities in dealing with the impacts of climate change and the supporting role of GCoM. This workshop included group activities and presentation of case studies from cities and provided participants with practical learning and experience.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Rui Ludovino, the First Counsellor of the European Union Delegation to Vietnam, highlighted the importance of tackling climate change as one of humanity’s most critical challenges and duties to preserve a liveable environment for future generations. He also highlighted the crucial role of cities as both the epicentre of the economy and the main contributor of GHG emissions and the need for cities to integrate inclusive planning into infrastructure development.
Welcoming the delegates, Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Son, Chairman of ACVN and Viet Tri City People’s Committee emphasised the importance of climate finance for local governments in Asia Pacific. He expressed concern over Vietnam’s vulnerability to climate impacts due to its extensive coastline and low-lying cities. He hoped that the workshop would inspire Vietnamese cities to take bold climate action.
The expectation was followed by remarks from Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, Secretary General of UCLG ASPAC/GCoM Secretariat Southeast Asia, who highlighted the importance of this workshop to share climate solutions from Vietnam, support cities in setting climate action priorities, and develop project proposals to access funding from technical and financial organisations. She also restated the commitment of GCoM SEA to support the cities. “UCLG ASPAC will continue to serve as the Secretariat of GCoM SEA, to make continuous efforts to support cities and local governments in low carbon development and resilience to climate change,” added Dr. Bernadia.
Mr. Ho Van Mung, Chairman of Nha Trang City People’s Committee, spoke the importance of the workshop for Vietnam. “This workshop is a valuable opportunity for Nha Trang City and other Vietnamese cities to learn from experiences, seek technical solutions to current climate challenges, and promote connections with climate finance experts, organisations, and financial mechanisms within and outside the country,” said, Mr. Ho Van Mung closing his remarks.
The presentation of the Climate Action Plans (CAPs) by Nam Dinh, Hue, Cao Lanh, and Sapa showed the cities’ commitment to reducing GHG emissions by 9% by 2030 and increasing their resilience to climate change. The CAPs identified several priority areas, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste management, sustainable tourism, and green urban planning.
GCoM Badge Awarding
During the workshop, Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi from UCLG ASPAC/GCoM SEA Secretariat emphasised the importance of reporting on cities’ climate journey and the significance of data-driven policy-making processes. She highlighted that GCoM awards badge to signatories that successfully completed reporting through CDP-ICLEI Track, which allows for monitoring, tracking, and evaluating efforts for better implementation. For reporting period 2022, four Vietnam signatories are eligible to receive the badges: Can Tho, Cao Lanh, Nam Dinh, and Sapa. The Secretary-General congratulated the cities and hoped they could inspire many more cities, particularly in Vietnam.
Solutions to Reduce GHG Emission
Focused on solutions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the six speakers, Mr. Pham Minh Hai (National Expert, Sustainable Mobility in Metropolitan Regions in ASEAN, SMMR Project), Mrs. Bùi Kim Thùy (VinFast Deputy General Director for Strategic Partnership), Mr. Le Quang Trang (Vice Chairman, Cao Lanh City People Committee), Mr. Adi Darmawan (Head of Toxic and Hazardous Waste Management Sub-Division, Environment Agency, DKI Jakarta Provincial Government, Indonesia), Puan Kamisah Mohd Ghazali (Lead, Resilient Environment, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), Malaysia), and Ms. Vu Hong Thanh (Zero Waste Community Da Nang), shared the solutions their institutions have had. They also highlighted the importance of implementing sustainable solutions and the need for collaboration between different sectors to achieve significant reductions in GHG emissions.
SMMR shared their initiatives in supporting Can Tho’s development of quality bus corridors. VinFast, a rapidly growing automobile company, has emerged as a pioneer in the shift to zero-emission and electric vehicles. Cao Lanh City demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by replacing incandescent bulbs with light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Jakarta addressed waste management at different levels, implementing innovative strategies like Jakarta Sadar Sampah (JSS), a clean-up campaign. Iskandar Malaysia took the lead in driving low-carbon initiatives since 2009 and introduced the Low Carbon Society Blueprint for Iskandar Malaysia 2025. The Zero Waste Community in Da Nang emerged as the first zero-waste initiative in Vietnam, encouraging a cleaner and greener environment. These efforts highlight the collective commitment of cities, communities, companies, and development partners to combat climate change and reduce GHG emissions, paving the way for a more sustainable and greener future.
Solutions to Climate Adaptation
In exploring innovative climate adaptation solutions, three speakers from the Philippines and Vietnam shared their remarkable efforts in tackling the impacts of climate change in their respective cities. In Hue, Mr. Ho Lam Phuc, Vice Head of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Hue City, emphasised the importance of strong city and provincial leadership, enhanced early-warning systems, and effective communication campaigns to minimise damages caused by floods and typhoons. Collaboration with partners like JICA has also played a crucial role in their climate adaptation endeavours. Baguio, as presented by Ms. Leticia Clemente, City Finance Officer, has implemented various digitalisation programmes to address challenges like natural sinkholes, flooding, and rising temperatures. The city actively involves the community and civil society organisations during the policy-making process through town hall sessions. In response to severe coastal erosion, Mr. Le Dinh Tuong, Vice Head of the Department of Economics, Hoi An City, shared Hoi An’s initiatives, including temporary measures with bamboo and sandbags and permanent embankments funded by various sources, especially the state budget. These endeavours showcase the cities’ commitment to climate resilience and highlight the importance of collaboration and community engagement in tackling climate challenges. Despite challenges like limited resources and unpredictable weather patterns, their dedication to climate action remains steadfast, making a significant impact on their community’s safety and well-being.
Group Work: Solutions to Climate Challenges
During the group work sessions, participants from various Vietnamese cities discussed the main challenges they face in different climate sectors and shared successful actions or projects they have implemented. Nam Dinh city highlighted the need to upgrade its old drainage system to enhance water and wastewater management, seeking support from stakeholders for this crucial improvement. Nha Trang focused on combating climate change impact and rapid economic growth, utilising funding from the World Bank to improve hygiene and sanitation and investing in wastewater treatment. Dien Bien Phu’s goals included addressing flooding in mountainous areas, explore waste collection and energy-efficient public lighting, and preserve historical landmarks. Hoi An City emphasised forest development and reforestation as measures against erosion and landslides.
The Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) group proposed adopting resilient plant and animal species, implementing nature-based cultivation practices, and raising awareness in the agriculture and forestry sectors. The Waste group advocated for sustainable urban development, improved awareness, and resource mobilisation in response to the issues of rising urbanisation and population growth. The Transportation group discussed enhancing public transportation infrastructure and transitioning to renewable energy sources, while the Energy group focused on regulating lighting intensity, promoting solar power usage, and diversifying funding sources.
Throughout these discussions, the importance of collaboration, awareness campaigns, and technology adoption for effective climate action emerged as key themes in addressing the challenges faced by Vietnamese cities.
Climate Finance Framework in Vietnam
Climate financing is critical in funding initiatives to combat climate change and enhance resilience in various sectors in Vietnam. Dr. Nguyen Sy Linh, Head of the Division of Climate Change and Global Affairs at ISPONRE, discussed the different climate financing mechanisms available for Vietnamese cities, including the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Adaptation Fund, and Vietnam Environment Protection Funding. He emphasised the importance of promoting renewable energy and low-carbon mobility projects, and focusing on non-refundable funding. Climate finance encompasses financial resources in the form of grants, loans, investments, and guarantees, sourced from bilateral and multilateral institutions, corporate entities, commercial banks, and households. Vietnam’s efforts in climate change action are supported at the municipal, provincial, and national levels, with the State Planning and Investment Ministry (MPI) serving as the focal point. Dr. Linh suggested broadening climate finance sources, cultivating relationships with relevant groups, and capitalising on GCoM status to access financial opportunities and expedite climate action for a sustainable future.
Alternative Climate Financing for Vietnamese Cities
Several experts presented valuable insights and opportunities for cities to access climate finance. Ms. Karishma Kashyap from CDP emphasised the transformative power of reporting, encouraging cities to actively participate in CDP-ICLEI Track to gain access to technical assistance and financing opportunities. Ms. Jazlyn Lee from GCoM highlighted the pivotal role of the Gap Fund in supporting cities to realise their climate action ambitions through early-stage implementation assistance and knowledge sharing. Mr. Devindranauth Bissoon from the Green Climate Fund discussed the country-driven approach of GCF, which includes financial support through grants, guarantees, and equity instruments, with an emphasis on both mitigation and adaptation.
The experts addressed queries on accessing funding, standardising data, and the potential of carbon trading for emission reduction. This session provided Vietnamese cities with valuable information and resources to accelerate their climate actions and access the necessary financing for sustainable projects.
City Climate Finance: Development of Project Proposals
Facilitated by the Gap Fund, Vietnamese cities took a significant step forward by developing their first draft of Expression of Interest (EOI) based on the challenges they identified during group work sessions. To speed up their climate projects, the cities acknowledged the need of to identify priorities and focus on the most critical actions. To support this process, cities were encouraged to seek assistance from GCoM, CDP, Gap Fund, and other partners in further developing their EOIs and advancing their climate finance initiatives. This collaborative effort aims to streamline and strengthen the cities’ project proposals and enhance their access to crucial financing for sustainable and impactful climate actions.
Successful Case Studies of Climate Finance from Cities
The City Climate Finance workshop showcased successful case studies from cities across Southeast Asia, demonstrating their innovative approaches to climate finance and sustainable development. Mayor Abigail Binay of Makati City in the Philippines highlighted the city’s transformation into a smart city, leveraging technology to enhance public services and efficiently distribute COVID relief aid. In Vietnam, Mr. Tran Trung Hau, Vice Chairman of Tam Ky City, shared the city’s commitment to green growth, focusing on energy efficiency in public buildings to reduce emissions. Mr. Adam Taufan Firdaus from Malang City, Indonesia, presented their waste management programme, combining circular economy principles to reduce waste generation and promote recycling. Lastly, Ms. Elsa Risfadona, from Pontianak City Government, Indonesia, discussed their aspiration to become a bankable city, showcasing their meticulous preparation and dedication to aligning with climate finance guidelines. These case studies exemplify the proactive and innovative efforts of cities in accessing climate finance and implementing transformative projects for a sustainable future.
Dialogue between the GCoM SEA Secretariat, Gap Fund, CDP, ISPONRE and Vietnamese Cities/Towns
The dialogue between the GCoM SEA Secretariat, Gap Fund, CDP, ISPONRE, and Vietnamese cities/towns covered the financial tools to secure more funds for supporting climate projects. The Gap Fund emphasised project preparation and provided technical assistance to Asian cities to refine project ideas and define project concepts before seeking potential funding and investment. Taking a broader perspective, various financial tools were discussed, including public finance from national and local governments, private financing from companies and other sources, and project financing options offered by financial institutions like the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The key lies in leveraging these tools based on specific project needs and implementation plans. As the first stage of GCoM projects will be concluded by the end of 2023, the focus shifts to enhancing participation and support for Vietnam’s cities. The GCoM SEA reassured that the initiative goes beyond project-based efforts and will continue to exist, fostering collaborations and knowledge exchange among cities. GCoM SEA, coordinated by UCLG ASPAC, will continue supporting cities by assisting with technical documentation aligned with both GCoM standards and local government priorities, facilitating workshops and sharing experiences to learn from one another’s challenges and successes in climate actions.
Summary & Closing Remarks
The end of the workshop was closed by Mrs. Asih Budiati, Project Team Leader/SEA Secretariat, who stated that the national workshop was a resounding success in inspiring proactive climate action in Vietnamese cities. She also emphasised that through this knowledge exchange, cities gained valuable tools for funding proposals, a better understanding of key players, and improved access to institutional support. She highlighted the pivotal role of GCoM in supporting collaborative efforts between signatory and non-signatory cities.
Dr. Ngo Trung Hai, ACVN’s General Secretary, delivered the closing remarks, praising the workshop’s significance in fulfilling climate commitments, facilitating impactful projects, and fostering a sustainable future through collaboration. “Together, we are building capacity and paving the way towards a sustainable future,” said Dr. Ngo Trung Hai as he concluded the closing remarks.
Written by: Iffah Zati Mazaya
Reviewed by: Rona Ikram Putri