Like most cities in the world in their dynamic development process, cities in Vietnam are facing multiple risks and challenges of the 21st century. In Can Tho, problems such as flooding, extreme rainfall and heat waves, water shortage, pollution, diseases, migration crisis and economic downturns tend to become more serious, complicated and unpredictable. These challenges have been causing and will continue to pose threats to people’s lives, the integrity of urban infrastructure, and the achievement of economic targets set by the city. This context makes evident the need to build and strengthen city resilience. This is the rationale for Can Tho city to submit its application to be part of the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) program initiated by the Rockefeller Foundation in 2013. Can Tho is one of the only two Vietnamese cities selected to participate in this program.
Embarking on the 100RC program at the end of 2016, after more than two years of implementation, with the coordination of the City Resilience Office (the CRO Office) and the support of ISET as strategy partner, the City Resilience Strategy of Can Tho has now been completed. With this achievement, Can Tho becomes the first municipality in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam to finish a City Resilience Strategy. As stated by the city leadership, “This Strategy represents a new approach, new way of thinking, and new knowledge to connect our citizens with our city government, towards the common goal of building Can Tho to be ever thriving in the face of the expected shocks and stresses of the 21st century”. Can Tho City successfully organized the Strategy Release Workshop on 19 June 2019, with participation of representatives from city departments and agencies, district and ward/commune level governments, social organizations, communities, experts from institutes and universities, enterprises, and international organizations.
The active support and close supervision by the city leadership, as well as the comprehensive collaboration among stakeholders, including government agencies, associations, communities, the private sectors, experts and researchers, is an important highlight of the strategy development process. In other words, the completion of this strategy is the result of the close collaboration, joint efforts, active and consistent contribution of stakeholders in the city throughout the two-year period – it is not a product by any organization or individual alone. This approach demonstrates the principle of “working together to bring out the best from all resources”, emphasized by Vice Chairman Dao Anh Dung in his opening remark of the Strategy Release workshop.
The strategy identified the shocks and stresses, resilience challenges and limitations of the city related to four areas: Leadership and Strategy, Infrastructure and Environment, Economy and Society, and Health & Well-being. Notably, most proposed actions in the strategy were developed based on consultations and discussions with related city stakeholders, and are incorporated into existing and upcoming programs and projects of the city. The CRO Office and ISET worked with relevant stakeholders in the city to develop 8 of these proposed actions into detailed project proposals, and successfully secured funding for two of them. Both of these proposals are related to building city resilience with green infrastructure measures. Particularly, the project on piloting green infrastructure approach and measures to design and build a public park along Ngong Channel, Thoi Nhut resettlement area in An Khanh Ward was approved by the city government and provided with funds for implementation. These encouraging initial results provide great impetus for the implementation of the Can Tho Resilience Strategy in the upcoming period.
However, according to Vice Chairman Dao Anh Dung, this is only the very first step in the very long road that Can Tho city and its citizens will have to journey through. For the Strategy to come alive, the city, local people and stakeholders need to further their cooperative efforts towards the vision of developing Can Tho as a green, sustainable, proactive and integrated river city where people enjoy prosperity and safety from shocks and stresses, and no one is left behind.
Please find the strategy in English and Vietnamese below: