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US aids Vietnam in smart city operations centre development

Image credit: Ministry of Information and Communications

Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Information and Communications on 25 August signed an agreement with the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) on technical assistance to build a smart city operations centre.

The signing took place at the Ho Chi Minh City – US Business Summit: Driving Partnerships and Innovation for the Future. The event was co-held by the Municipal People’s Committee, the US Consulate General, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham), HCM City Chapter.

According to a press release, the smart city operations centre is among four pillars in a plan to transform Vietnam’s southern economic hub into a smart city in the 2017-2020 period and with a vision towards 2025. It is the centre of control, or the “brain”, of a smart city. It will collect and analyse real-time data and information to help decision-makers govern, plan, and shape the future development of HCM City.

The project on technical assistance for the building of the smart city will be carried out by US-based Winbourne Consulting. It has a total investment of more than US$ 1.4 million, close to US$ 1.2 million will be provided by the USTDA in the form of non-refundable aid, while the remainder will come from Winbourne Consulting, according to the agreement.

Vietnam also recently collaborated with Japan to address climate change mitigation and adaptation, marine waste management, environmentally sustainable cities, and air and water pollution.

The Vietnamese Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Tran Hong Ha, and Japanese Minister of the Environment, Koizumi Shinjiro, discussed cooperation between their ministries at an online meeting on 28 August. The ministerial-level meeting between the two ministries formed part of the sixth Vietnam-Japan Environmental Policy Dialogue.

The two sides also plan to work together in environmental protection for chemical activities, environmental technology, measurement, reporting and verification (MRV), low-carbon technology, biodiversity preservation, and other issues regarding environmental protection and improvement.

In his remarks, the Vietnamese minister lauded the support in different forms of the Japanese ministry and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to Vietnam in the processing of amending the Law on Environmental Protection. He suggested the two countries adjust cooperation contents in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic posing challenges for both nations and the world at large.

The minister urged both sides to step up cooperation in climate change response, natural disaster combat, environmental protection, and ocean plastic waste management.

Minister Koizumi expressed his hope that Vietnam will work with Japan towards the goal of reducing the use of fossil fuels, and in managing, collecting, and treating marine plastic waste.

On this occasion, the ministries signed a document extending their bilateral memorandum of understanding on environmental cooperation, which reiterated the significance of actions aiming to implement the Paris agreement and sustainable development goals rapidly and successfully. Within the framework of the dialogue, the ministries also held a meeting to review their cooperation and map out orientations for their partnership in the time ahead.

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