Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Construction and the French Development Agency (AFD) have signed a cooperation agreement to help Vietnamese cities build climate change resilience.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Minister of Construction Nguyen Thanh Nghi and French Ambassador to Vietnam Nicolas Warnery.

According to the French agency, Vietnam is among the countries worst hit by climate change. Sea level rise coupled with extreme weather and rapid urbanisation rate has made coastal erosion and flooding more serious than ever.

Urban growth has been a key driver for Vietnam’s economic expansion since it has made significant contributions to generating jobs, while improving quality of such essential services as clean water, healthcare and education as well as creating a system of sound infrastructure in the nation.

However, rapid urbanisation rate makes city dwellers become more vulnerable to climate change.

At the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Vietnam made a strong commitment to respond to climate change with its target of achieving “net zero” emissions by 2050. Sustainable development and carbon neutrality will help handle the current climate crisis situation.

Throughout this cooperation, the Ministry of Construction and the AFD will step up their traditional partnership in support of sustainable urban development and resilience, especially promoting the implementation of the commitments made at the COP26 through technical assistance projects on climate-resilient urban development, smart city building, and urban development investment.

In this agreement, they also identified cooperation priorities for the 2022 - 2023 and 2024 - 2027 periods.

Ministry partners with French agency in sustainable urban development hinh anh 1The Ministry of Construction puts forth collaboration with the French Development Agency (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Addressing the signing ceremony in Hanoi on May 12, Minister of Construction Nguyen Thanh Nghi appreciated the AFD’s contributions to local development, particularly in construction and urban planning, and highly valued its cooperation pledges, including helping the country realise its COP26 commitments.

The ministry’s agencies will discuss with the AFD practical cooperation orientations that match both sides’ tasks, attention and wishes, he noted.

AFD Executive Director Philippe Orliange said his agency’s activities in Vietnam matched the French Government’s cooperation priorities in the country, adding the AFD is also orienting its activities towards implementing the commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

He pointed out that although urban development has considerably contributed to the Vietnamese economy, urbanisation may also cause certain risks, making cities more vulnerable. Given this, the important thing is how to achieve harmony between urban growth and climate change adaptation.

Cities, and localities in general, need active support from the Construction Ministry to implement the programmes, plans and measures for climate change mitigation and adaptation, Orliange added.

For his part, French Ambassador Nicolas Warnery spoke highly of the Vietnamese Prime Minister’s commitments at COP26, which will greatly contribute to global efforts against climate change.

He added that the French Government wishes to assist the Vietnamese Government to carry out the commitments and translate them into concrete projects so that people can benefit from the pledges./.

 In a working session with the Ministry of Construction on the threshold of the signing ceremony, AFD Executive Director Philippe Orliange expressed his delight over the positive changes in Vietnamese urban areas, with the metro line No.3 project in Hanoi being a symbol of close collaboration between Vietnam and France.

French Ambassador to Vietnam Nicolas Warnery expected his hope that Vietnam will put forth construction of the urban railway so that it will be inaugurated in the beginning of 2023.

“The newly-elected French government hopes to welcome a high-ranking delegation from Vietnam to France. We will make meticulous preparation for this visit, and if the railway project is completed at that time, it will be a great gift”, he stressed.

For his part, Minister of Construction Nguyen Thanh Nghi thanked the French Government for its support for Vietnam in developing climate change response projects, urban transport infrastructure, particularly the metro line No.3.

“The Ministry of Construction has ordered competent sides to remove bottlenecks for construction of the project with a view to reducing traffic congestion in urban areas”, he added./.