Opening the APEC Dialogue 2017 on Sustainable Urbanization, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Construction Phan Thi My Linh said that the Asia-Pacific region is now home to 42 percent of the world’s population, with 1.8 billion people living in urban areas.

“The management of the urban transformation is an important and difficult task for the member economies, particularly in the context of globalization and climate change,” she noted.

Delegates exchanging views on the sidelines of the dialogue. Photo:
Linh cited Vietnam as an example, saying that after 30 years of reform, the country has made important achievements in urbanization.

The urban system has developed rapidly in terms of number and quality, with urbanization rate increasing from 19.6 percent with 629 urban areas in 2009 to about 36.6 percent with 802 urban areas in 2016.

The urban sector produces about 70 percent of the country’s total GDP, bringing about many values in industrial production, export and import, science and technology progress and exerting spreading impacts of social economic development to the region and the country.

However, like many other developed economies, urbanization in Vietnam has faced many difficulties and challenges, such as the rapid and hot urbanization over-passing the management capacity of local administrations, the inconsistent development between technical and social infrastructure, uncontrolled migration, social disparity as well as new arising global problems like climate change and sea level rising.

Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son, who is SOM Chair, stated that together with the increasing urbanization and its role in social economic development, there are many associated problems and challenges of high levels of impacts on the environment and people.

“They require changes in urban development and management approaches,” he said, stressing the need for multi-sector and integrated strategies and solutions to support well-managed urban development, problem-solving and innovation toward sustainable and inclusive development.

The dialogue, held within the framework of the second APEC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM2) and related meetings, focuses on discussing institutional framework and policy for sustainable urban development and urbanization, linkages in regional urban development towards sustainability, urban housing development adaptive to climate change, and development models of energy efficiency and green growth.

A set of policy recommendations are expected to be formulated from presentations and discussions at the dialogue, which could be referred to while developing the urban agenda in each APEC member economies.

Source: VNA