In April 2013, the partnership between Rotterdam and Ho Chi Minh City resulted in the creation of the HCMC Climate Adaptation Strategy (CAS), which provides principles for urban development in times of climate change. In its next phase, the partnership is focused on putting the CAS principles into practice, mainstreaming them into the categories People, Projects, Plans and Procedures.

What is it?

The goal of this project is to support HCMC in becoming climate resilient by raising awareness, building capacity, and mainstreaming, or incorporating, climate change adaptation into all relevant plans and procedures. In addition, two pilot projects (defining criteria for climate resilience in terms of references) will help support the implementation of two adaptation projects (presumably a water retention area and green embankment). The lessons learned from these pilots feed back into capacity building and mainstreaming activities. This project aims to be the steppingstone to city-wide implementation of adaptation measures.

How does it work?

The next phase of this partnership focuses on mainstreaming HCMC’s CAS principles into the following categories: People, Projects, Plans and Procedures.

  1. People: creating awareness and building capacity of department staff, district staff and private developers.
  2. Projects: including climate adaptation in terms of references of two pilot projects.
  3. Plans: further detailing master plans of two pilot districts.
  4. Procedures: developing and testing a formal review procedure to check the climate resiliency of all plans and projects. The overall goal is to move to implementation of climate adaptation. 


Rotterdam is going through the same phases at the same time as HCMC, so both cities can exchange experiences on mainstreaming, capacity building and implementation.

As dynamic delta cities that play an important role in the national economy, the two cities decided to collaborate on water management and climate change adaptation in 2009. This partnership takes place within the framework of the C40 Connecting Delta Cities (CDC) network. Hence, CDC provides an excellent framework to share the lessons learned from this project.

On a national level, the project fits within the partnership between Vietnam and the Netherlands, and the Dutch government provided funding for both phases (creation and implementation) of the CAS. The main objective of this project is to make sure that climate change adaptation and water management are taken into account in all urban development of HCMC. This will save money in both the long term (less damage from flooding, heat and drought) and the short term (piggybacking makes adaptation measures cheaper or even cost-neutral). And more importantly, it makes the city more attractive, safe and liveable. The key challenge is to win the hearts of all the stakeholders and provide them with sufficient knowledge and tools to act accordingly.

Next steps

Once funding was secured and Dutch experts had been selected, the draft Joint Working Plan was discussed and finalised with representatives from the six key departments of HCMC and representatives from the two pilot districts (District 4 and Nha Bè).

Staff from the six key departments will be trained and – more importantly –  will provide leadership when mainstreaming the CAS into plans, procedures and projects. Two districts will receive special attention as pilot areas, but representatives from all other districts will also be invited to apply the knowledge from the two detailed case studies in their own district. Moreover, private investors are explicitly targeted because they need to understand why and how to make properties climate resilient.

Lastly, following a request from HCMC, community representatives and leaders will be invited to participate in the workshops. Through them, awareness and knowledge about adapting to climate change can trickle down to their communities. Community engagement will be particularly important during the implementation phase to follow this project.


City of Rotterdam

Rotterdam Office for Sustainability and Climate Change

Chantal Oudkerk Pool

+31 (0)10 267 39 59