Why urban cooling in Viet Nam’s cities?

Viet Nam’s rapid urbanization and economic growth are accelerating cooling demand in cities and the urban heat island effect (UHIE). The accompanying surge in power demand and refrigerant use will drive growth in emissions from cooling from 34MTCO2.eq in 2017 to 81MTCO2.eq by 2030.

For Viet Nam early action to curb this emissions growth from cooling is a priority, as highlighted in its updated NDC to deliver its net-zero economy by 2050. At the same time, the NDC acknowledges that access to cooling is a public health imperative in the region. Heat stress is already chronic in some urban areas and Viet Nam’s largest cities are some of the most threatened by deadly heat globally.

Greater municipal intervention on cooling and extreme heat is a crucial but underdeveloped element in Viet Nam’s policy frameworks. A whole-system approach to sustainable urban cooling is key to avoid dangerous heat in an optimal and resource-efficient manner by reducing heat at the urban scale, reducing cooling needs in buildings, and serving cooling needs efficiently.

Viet Nam’s cities need cross-cutting financial and capacity support to unlock their vital role as planner, coordinator, financier and advocate for sustainable cooling and protecting their citizens from extreme heat.

About the project

The project will support two pilot cities of Can Tho and Tam Ky to prepare Urban Cooling Action Plans (UCAPs) that integrate action on cooling and extreme heat into a range of municipal plans and masterplans. In parallel, the project will support these cities to finance pilot projects and unlock stable municipal budgets for intervention on extreme heat and urban cooling. Dong Hoi city will also receive light touch support through the project. Interventions will include improved urban design, nature-based solutions, passive cooling measures, municipal incentives, district cooling and sustainable public procurement.

By working on-the-ground with the pilot cities, the project will tailor the global best practices recommended under the Beating the Heat: Sustainable Cooling Handbook for Cities. In parallel, to unlock increased finance for UCAP implementation, a national cooling fund will be established under the existing Environmental Protection Fund. This project will also work with the national government to integrate and promote city-action on cooling and extreme heat through various national policies including the implementation of Viet Nam’s NDC.

The project is co-led by UNEP and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and is being closely executed with Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The project is funded with the support of the Clean Cooling Collaborative (CCC).

What will the project do?

The project will work across four key components:

  • Demonstrate Comprehensive Urban Cooling Action

The project will prepare and support the adoption of Urban Cooling Action Plans and dedicated governance structures in two pilot cities. This will include spatial analysis of cooling and extreme heat, their drivers and recommendations for local policies, planning, financial instruments, and a project pipeline. Demonstration projects in the two cities will be identified and supported to market to showcase comprehensive approaches to delivering sustainable cooling in a building cluster.

  • Establish National Cooling Fund

The project will help design and set up a new national cooling fund as part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Environmental Protection Fund. This will ensure that cities have ready access to investment finance to take action on cooling and extreme heat.

  • Capacity Building for Replication of Urban Cooling Strategies

Through the pilot city activities, global best practices on urban cooling will be contextualized for Viet Nam and combined with existing local innovation. The project will promote best practices for urban cooling to a wide range of stakeholders and share the pilot cities’ experiences with other cities to increase awareness and their capacity to replicate the pilot city activities.

  • NDC Implementation Support through Integrated Policy Approach

The project will enhance policymakers’ awareness on urban cooling interventions and their mitigation potential. Viet Nam will be supported to incorporate urban cooling under the NDC Implementation Support Program, an upcoming decree under the Environmental Protection Law, the National Strategy on Climate Change, and other national frameworks such as the National Cooling Plan.

Estimated impact

  • Comprehensive approaches to cooling in cities that include strong building efficiency measures, passive cooling, urban design, nature-based solutions, super-efficient appliances and district cooling can reduce energy consumption for cooling by greater than 70%.
  • Replicating pilot city activities into 5 other cities could reduce emissions by over 30MtCO2.eq/year by 2040 and improve the thermal comfort and resilience of millions.
  • Increased finance into urban cooling projects through the National Cooling Fund canovercome longstanding CAPEX barriers for increased energy efficiency
  • Updated national planning guidelines – based on analysis and action in pilot cities – can put Viet Nam’s cities on a pathway to drastically reduce urban heat island and benefit from diverse adaptation co-benefits from improved urban design and bringing nature into cities
  • Increased awareness and capacity of city, provincial and national government officials on role of cities in tackling cooling and extreme heat and its GHG reduction potential framed under Viet Nam’s ambition to deliver a net-zero economy by 2050.

For more information

To support the project or to be kept informed on its development, please contact us here.

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