Almost 600 domestic and foreign scientists gathered in Hanoi on Oct. 7 for a three-day international conference, “Sustainable Development of Hanoi Capital - Civilised and Heroic City for Peace”.

At the opening ceremony, Vice Chairwoman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Ngo Thi Thanh Hang said the conference was an importance chance to assess and honour the traditions and civilised values in the glorious history of the capital city and the whole nation.

We should outline orientations and strategies to build Hanoi into a modern, elegant and civilised city, she said.

For his part, Secretary of Hanoi’s Party Committee Pham Quang Nghi pointed out challenges to the capital city that need to be solved such as the fast increase in urban population, traffic jams and environmental pollution.

Meanwhile, planning and planning management have not been well controlled, leading to the degradation or disappearance of the capital’s architectural heritages and unequal development in urban and suburban areas, Nghi said.

There remained shortcomings in the capital city’s economic efficiency and competitiveness while its internal sources and advantages have not been fully tapped, he noted.

The capital’s economic development has failed to match its potential and socio-cultural development has not caught up with the capital’s economic development pace as well as its role and position, he added.

He said the capital city’s authorities considered the conference a chance to listen to scientists’ opinions on the city’s strengths and potential for development. He also hopes participants will put forth proposals on solutions to bring into play the values of Thang Long-Hanoi to build a sustainable development strategy for the city in the context of rapid global change.

At the conference, UNESCO Representative in Vietnam Katherine Muller-Marin cited a recent study that was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and reported in its UK Economic Outlook publication as saying that Hanoi is projected to be one of the world’s top two cities in terms of average real GDP growth for 2008-2025.

In order that the city continue delivering accomplishments such as these, we need to be mindful of the challenges that rapid urbanisation poses, especially when it is about preserving cultural heritage, she said.

“If we wish for sustainable development in the next 10 years, 100 years, and even 1,000 years, we have to preserve the cultural values,” she said.

In his report on “Thang Long-Hanoi: Lasting and Sustainable Development” at the conference, Prof. Dr Vu Minh Giang mentioned four groups of issues that are discussed at the event. They include history and politics; cultural issues; socio-economic issues; and balancing natural resources and environmental conditions with urban management and construction.

A total of 157 reports will be presented at the conference.

Professor, Doctor William S. Logan of Deakin University , Melbourne , Australia , who has studied about Hanoi for 20 years, said Hanoi was one of a few cities in the world having a continuing history of being the capital city of a country for over 1,000 years, which makes it different from many other foreign cities.

Hanoi has to ensure that modern development doesn’t undermine the outstanding universal values if the city wants to maintain its distinctive character as one of the most beautiful and oldest cities in the world.

In his opinion, development and preserving heritages are not opposing issues. As the result, policy makers have to take planning issues into consideration and not destroy the city’s cultural values./.