Workers from a waste treatment company in HCM City clean up a pond in central Quang Ngai province’s Binh Thuan commune (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - The Germany-Vietnam Water Forum held in HCM City on November 9 to discuss ways the two countries could cooperate in water, wastewater and urban resilience projects.

“For economic, social and ecological reasons, it is imperative that we enhance resource efficiency. Interlinked and intelligent infrastructure for water supply and wastewater management, as well as sustainable urban planning, are of the utmost importance,” said Gunther Adler, State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.

The forum also introduced the new German Development Corporation (GIZ) and Ministry of Construction publication “Resilient Cities in Vietnam: A Guide for Planning Urban Environment Programs”.

The publication reflects the experiences gained during long years of operating in the urban environment sector in Vietnam.

“I do believe that Germany’s experience in the water sector will help Vietnamese authorities improve their water management capacities,” Phan Thi My Linh, deputy minister of construction, said.

Vietnam has 800 cities nationwide and the urbanisation rate is now at 36.5 percent.

The number of people living in urban areas will reach 44 million in 2020 and 52 million in 2050. Together with a high urbanisation rate, climate change, frequent and serious urban floods and increased pollution pose significant challenges for the water and wastewater sector in Vietnam.

To address these challenges, GIZ through the Wastewater Management Programme and the Flood Proofing and Drainage for Medium-sized Coastal Cities in Vietnam for Adaptation to Climate Change Programme is supporting national and provincial governments to establish a legal and policy framework for the urban drainage/sewage and flood risk management sector.

The aim is to build resilient cities that can withstand the negative impacts of climate change.

In recent years, the Vietnam Water Supply and Sewerage Association (VWSA) has focused on human resources development, technology promotion and policy advocacy. It has been strengthening cooperation with GWP, GIZ and other donors and international organizations to fulfil its objectives.

In particular, VWSA is working closely with GWP in fostering cooperation between German and Vietnamese businesses as well as investment promotion, technology transfer, knowledge and experience exchange.

In Vietnam, the national programme to ensure water supply for the 2016 – 2020 period was approved by the Prime Minister, with the target of 90-95 percent having access to fresh and hygienic water by 2020 and 95–100 percent by 2025.

The programme also aims to reduce urban untreated waste water under 70 percent.

All 68 provincial water supply enterprises have taken part in training about water safety supply, according to VWSA.

The forum was sponsored by the VWSA in partnership with GIZ and the German Water Partnership (GWP).-VNA