Ha Noi, 25 March 2021 - The British Embassy in Ha Noi and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Viet Nam are organizing the workshop titled “Climate adaptation in the context of urban setting”. This workshop takes place under the framework of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which will take place in November 2021.

The workshop aims to bring together different actors from government, development partners, businesses, academia, youth, and local communities to discuss multiple aspects of urban resilience and climate change. It is an open platform for stakeholders to share information on specific challenges, benefits, best practices, and lessons learned on building urban resilience in Viet Nam and the wider region. The workshop’s participants will explore and suggest ways forward on specific ideas for urban policy planning as well as actions required by relevant actors.

We are living in a world of cities, and that trend will continue in the future. Studies show that more than half of the world's human population has been living in cities since 2007, and urbanisation is calculated to rise to 80 percent by 2050. In Viet Nam, 76 cities accommodate 60 percent of the total population and contributes to over 70 percent of the GDP.

As cities continue to grow in its population and infrastructure, they have to face several challenges - including housing, governance, urban mobility, and especially, the impacts of climate change. The increasingly variable trend of climatic conditions and its effects is adding pressure and uncertainties to urban areas. Viet Nam’s 300 coastal cities are low-lying and frequently affected by natural disasters such as storms, floods, droughts and saltwater intrusion. The costs of climate-induced disasters are climbing rapidly, taking an increasing toll on human life, assets, and livelihoods as well as on valuable ecological systems.

Urban development that takes into consideration sustainable, climate resilient measures will provide a safe and healthy environment for the city’s economic development and enhance resilience of the residents. While urban resilience refers to reducing risks and damages from disasters and to the ability to quickly bounce back to a stable state, climate adaptation and resilience measures have not been always intensively incorporated into urban planning and budgeting processes.

Speaking on the workshop, British Ambassador Gareth Ward said: “Studies show that adaption strategies integrated in land use planning can reduce cities’ vulnerability to the adverse impacts of climate change. Digitalisation plays an important role in this. The UK is contributing $135mn for 5 years until 2021 through UCCRTF (Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund) to support fast-growing cities in Asia, including Vietnam, to reduce the risks poor and vulnerable people face from climate change impacts. COP26 presents a significant opportunity to raise global ambition on this theme of strengthening urban resilience. In the run up to COP26, alongside with other development partners, we look forward to working further with the government of Viet Nam in this important agenda”.

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Viet Nam, Sitara Syed highlighted that “The overall efforts to reduce risk and adapt to the changing climate on a national scale must also incorporate the reduction of risk specifically in urban areas.”

Ms. Syed noted that most disaster-prone cities are unprepared either to handle future disasters or to reduce the associated risks. “Viet Nam, as one of the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, is no exception. Cities are at the very forefront of climate change, both in terms of what is at stake and in terms of their potential to create meaningful and lasting change. If there is one key message which I would like you to take away from today, it’s that without prioritizing urban resilience, we risk losing Viet Nam’s development gains to disasters that could otherwise have been avoided.”

Derek Murray, Future Cities Smart Technology and Data Advisor from Mott MacDonald highlighted "A resilient city is one that operates in a smart way, focused on integrated and citizen-centric services, and prepared to respond to climate events through evidence-based decision making. UK Government's Future Cities Programme works with cities across Southeast Asia to build capacity for resilience - in Ho Chi Minh City this includes flood resilience, where the programme supports digitalisation of the drainage network and provides technical assistance on data management and sharing between agencies. As UK Government Delivery Partner, Mott MacDonald brings data insights to help cities build long-term resilience and respond to climate extremes by bridging sector gaps and equipping communities, businesses and institutions with the awareness, knowledge and capacity to prepare for the impacts of climate change."
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Notes to Editors
COP26: In November 2021, the UK will host the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow with our partner, Italy. This will provide an opportunity for the world to come together and commit to more global action to cut emissions so that the Paris Agreement target, to limit the rise in global temperatures to under 1.5 degrees, is met. Our fair and inclusive UK Presidency will bring governments, business and civil society together to accelerate progress in five key areas: Adaptation and resilience, Nature, Energy, Transport, and Finance.

Media Enquiries:
Should you have any questions, please contact:
• British Embassy Hanoi’s Communications Section: Duong (091.990.4209) and Lien (037.562.4812) or email communications@ukinvietnam.com.
• UNDP CCE Media and Communication Analyst: Giang (0948466688) or email phan.huong.giang@undp.org

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