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The future of Vietnam ’s cities was touched upon at a conference that brought together city leaders nationwide and international experts.
Present at the conference, Minister of Construction Trinh Dinh Dung said the country’s policies aim at forming an urban network with synchronous, modern and environmentally friendly infrastructure systems linking major, medium and small cities.
He said his ministry will try to raise local authorities’ role in the management of urban areas as well as mobilise resources for the urban development process.
The Minister reported that the country had 760 towns and cities by September 2012, which were key to the country’s economic development and restructure by contributing 70-75 per cent of the national GDP annually.
However, he raised the fact that these areas had failed to meet the country’s development demands, especially in dealing with the impacts of climate change and environmental pollution.
Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen The Thao echoed the construction minister’s viewpoints, referring the problems currently challenging the capital as an example.
He said the city’s infrastructure was overloaded while investment sources for infrastructure improvements and effective management remained in short.
A 15-percent annual increase in vehicles sparked frequent traffic jams in the city while public transport, mainly bus services, met just 10 percent of the locals, Thao elaborated.
The chairman, however, introduced to the participants the city’s efforts to create satellite cities and ecological corridors, as well as further improve traffic systems.
Hanoi will also set up an urban management mechanism to better management effectiveness, he said.
For Paula Pennanen, representative from the UN HABITAT Asia-Pacific Regional Office, improving the quality of urban areas requires the involvement of not only policy-makers and managers but also every citizen.
She said Vietnam should adopt new approaches to push up the development of sustainable and green urban areas when the globe is growing into a single urban.
Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam said Vietnam ’s policies and investment will decide the appearance of urban areas and the country should learn lessons from international experiences in sustainable urban development.
The conference was held by the Vietnam Urban Forum, the Ministry of Construction and the Cities Alliance.