Vietnam is one of the most climate-exposed countries on Earth, and many of Vietnam’s cities are also experiencing rapid growth and transformation by internal and foreign investment in new infrastructure. To help increase the climate resilience of Vietnam’s cities, it is vital that planners integrate current and projected climate information into their designs of urban forms and functions.
With a recently established legal framework and an array of supporting research, Vietnam is at a critical juncture to begin considering climate change in land-use designations and urban planning. The recent approval of Decision No. 2623/QD-TTg establishes a key legal foundation and clear framework for integrating climate change considerations into existing planning processes and policies. Recent guidance documents with details on specific steps, strategies, and example projects can be used by planners and decision-makers to begin integrating climate change in planning. Despite this progress, the nation currently lacks any official policies that detail guidelines, steps, or resources for carrying out climate change integration.
A national climate impacts planning tool could help fill the need for an established resource and process for climate change consideration in planning in Vietnam. Through consolidation and streamlining of vetted, best-available climate information and resilience-building strategies, the tool could facilitate the integration of climate considerations into urban planning at all scales, acting as a springboard for taking Vietnam’s climate resilience goals and strategies from policies on paper to implementation on the ground. By leading users through simple, consistent steps, the tool presents a consolidated, streamlined, and standardized process for identifying climate change impacts and guidance information pertinent to a planning project’s geography (provinces, cities), sectors (transportation, water supply), and planning decisions (design specifications, spatial orientations).
Cascadia Consulting Group developed a Climate Impacts Decision Support Tool (CIMPACT-DST) for the City of Seattle (WA, USA). The tool was first piloted in the central city of Hue, Vietnam under the Climate Change Resilience Development (CCRD) program supported by the United States Agency of International Development (USAID). Transferred to local ownership in August 2013, the tool has since been used to inform the development of three new climate-resilient urban master plans for Thua Thien-Hue province. Using the Hue tool as a foundation, Cascadia also partners with the Vietnam Institute for Urban Planning (VIUP) and the Institute for Environmental Planning and Urban-Rural Infrastructure (IRURE) to customize a national version of the CIMPACT-DST that could apply to urban planning activities throughout the 63 provinces and over 750 cities, towns, and districts of Vietnam. Having been beta-tested in two focus cities (Vung Tau and Can Tho) in April 2014, the tool was transferred to VIUP ownership in June 2014 and released at the national workshop in July 2014.