(Hanoi) On November 7, 2011, UN-HABITAT Vietnam and the Association of Cities in Viet Nam (ACVN) organized a national workshop of project "Urban Observatory System in Vietnam" at Ho Chi Minh museum to share and discuss project preliminary results. This project aims to support Vietnam cities/ towns to set up a data system for monitoring and evaluating of MDG implementation process for sustainable development, equality, environment friendliness, competitiveness and poverty reduction. The workshop attracted over 200 participants from cities and towns which are members of ACVN, central government management bodies, international organizations, professional and social associations, and experts on relevant fields.
The country's urban population in 2009 was approximately 26 million, accounting for 29.6 percent of the national population, while the annual growth rate of the urban population between 1999 - 2009 was 3.4 percent. It has been forecasted that by 2029, urban population is more than 44 million people, accounting for more than 40% of national population. Urbanization is the motivation for development of national economy. However, the rapid increase of urban population has also created pressure on job creation, housing, infrastructure, environment protection and social security insurance for urban areas. The workshop provided preliminary results from the urban indicators as a basis for urban policy making. The set of urban indicators offered detailed data on poverty and unemployment of urban cities and town who involved observatory system. Urban inequality, urban housing profile, housing conditions of migrants from rural to urban areas, education accessibility, accessibility to health care services, cultural facilities and urban infrastructure, land use issues, traffic and urban safety, the impacts of climate change, urban finance, planning and urban management were also discussed in the report.
Preliminary results show that big urban areas face with challenges in construction, operation and management and enhancement of housing stock, reduce rich-poor gap, transportation system, urban safety, drainage system and solid waste treatment constructions, maintain green and public space. Meanwhile smaller urban areas need to meet demand on basic infrastructure such as clean water supply, environmental hygiene, comfortable conditions in education, medical and cultural aspects. However, almost all urban areas have to deal with difficulties in infrastructure development capital and climate change adaptation.
"With big challenges from urbanization, strategic urban planning and eco-city can be solutions to convert challenges to opportunities, bringing long-term economic benefits. Strategic planning process provides the local government, private sector and urban population with a clear vision and a concrete strategy to make cities more competitive, creating investment and high value-added employment opportunities, at the same time, balancing social, economic and environmental goals. Climate change adaptive urban governance is another innovative and approach that city can adopt to perform more efficiently facing the emerging issue of climate change. There is a need for city government to consider the inter-linkage between formal and informal action in adaptation and the integration of urban adaptation efforts with initiatives in the wider field of urban sustainable development", Ms. Do Minh Huyen, UN-HABITAT urban expert said.
"The set of urban indicators index is significant for the urban management, and is as value database of Vietnam's urban system. It is important tool to assess the overall development of urban areas, to provide urban database for urban management of cities and towns. In the context that urbanization in Vietnam has started a new development period, Vietnam Statistics Sector is developing a new development strategy for the period between 2010 – 2020. The Draft Vietnam Urban Indicator System and Urban Observatory System Initiative in Vietnam are expected to contribute to setting up a data base for making analytical reports serving the policy making process. Developing the urban indicator is also an opportunity to enhance the capacity of urban authorities in implementation, sustainable maintenance the observatory system to monitor and evaluate urban indicators at the local level, "Ms. Vu Thi Vinh, Deputy Secretary General of ACVN concluded.