The SMLXL workshop was reported in the media including local TV of Can Tho Province. Following article appeared in the news web site of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam or MONRE (Direct link here or PDF version here).

A rough translation of parts of the article:

Urban development and green infrastructure, climate change adaptation

On July 23 [2014], Can Tho City People’s Committee in collaboration with the [UNESCO-IHE] Institute for Water Education Netherlands organized international conference titled “Developing climate adaptation and green infrastructure in medium-sized cities across multiple scales”.

According to the Institute of water Education of the Netherlands, the world is witnessing urbanization rate of the most powerful in human history. According to the report of the 2009 UN world urbanization, there are more than 50% of the world population living in urban areas and this proportion is increasing. Urbanization is especially fast in small and medium-sized cities in the developing countries, where more than 70% of the total urban population of the world lives. This increases the pressure on the city administration in addressing a range of important issues like housing, public services, environmental pollution, flooding in urban areas and increasing the risk of impact of global climate change.

Mr. Assela Pathirana, representing UNESCO-IHE Netherlands emphasizes, many hazards and climate-related impacts seem concentrated in the big cities but the bigger crisis due to climate change often predict concentrated in the small and medium-sized cities, where more than 70% of the total urban population in the world live. Can Tho is a typical [medium sized] city at the early stages of urbanizing, fast-growing with a population of about 1.2 million people. Like many developing cities Can Tho is facing many challenges from the process of urbanization, climate change and urban population growth. Can Tho has a dense network of rivers, water is supplied from the Hau River – a tributary of the Mekong River. The city is located in the central part of the Mekong Delta where  water is both a precious resource and a potential danger.

According to Ky Quang Vinh, director of the Climate Change Coordination office of Can Tho city, recently, the water level change in the Hau River near Can Tho province is getting worse, this is due to the impact of sea level rise and the development activities in the upstream countries of the mekong basin. Due to climate change cased by global increase of temperature, we may see an increase of the intensity and frequency of the phenomena like, thunderstorms and cyclones in the future.  At the same time due to increase of severe and prolonged drought, together with land subsidence and salinity intrusion can also be caused by man-made conditions like climate change and local changes to the environment. Therefore,  in order to ensure sustainable development of livelihoods and communities and  economy of Can Tho city,  green development is something the government is striving for.

Mr. Vinh said that in order to find sustainable solutions to cope with climate change, in a way consistent with the local realities and to minimize contributing to climate change, Can Tho City People’s Committee has established the “Steering Committee for response to climate change”  to assist the PPC [Peoples’ Committee] in the field of climate change with the aim of adapting well to the extreme situation.

To address the challenge of climate change and urban development in the present and future, an expert from Bangladesh who attended the workshop said that managers, scientists need to exchange lessons from practical experience in the world of urban planning to build, develop solutions for a sustainable future. The sharing and learning with case studies in medium-sized cities in the world  is essential to integrate, organize and develop solutions to manage to flooding and to develop green infrastructure while ensuring the economic growth and livelihood of local communities.

Besides, in urban planning, both practitioners and scientists need to be equipped with knowledge and experience to identify priority projects that integrate and implement urban development and green infrastructure combined with the ability to cope with and withstand disasters, for sustainable solutions to improve the quality of life.