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Urban Environment addressing both urban livability and urban development’s larger impact on regional pollution and natural resources.

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Old July 5th, 2009, 11:14 AM
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Post The Urban Environmental Planning Programme (UEPP-VN)

Website: http://www.uepp.org

The Urban Environmental Planning Programme (UEPP-VN)
is a development cooperation between the European Commission and the Government of Viet Nam that has an overall objective to improve the quality of urban planning as a contribution to enhancing the state of environment of provincial cities in Viet Nam. The Programme has been implemented over 4 years (2005-2009) through 3 components that are Small Grant Projects (SGPs), Capacity Building and Training (CBT), and Networking and Institutional Strengthening (NIS).

The SGP component is intended to provide opportunities for the provincial cities and towns in Mekong Delta region (MDR) to increase local awareness and planning capacity to find sustainable solutions to urban environmental problems which directly benefit the local groups especially the poor households. A grant of 2.9 millions euros is used to finance local projects that are local initiative, potentially good model and environmentally diverse. These projects are proposed by the local consortia (groups of urban government, line agencies, massive organs, enterprises etc.) for grant through a competitive Call for Proposals (CfP) and two selection stages.

After a road show about CfP and eligible applicants in all MDR provinces during October 2005-February 2006, the first stage started by a National Conference 25 February 2006 in Can Tho to call for submission of project Concept Note. By May 2006 there were 32 Concept Notes (short application) were received and 16 of them were shortly listed by the Programme Task Force (PTF) Evaluation Committee for full application in the 2nd stage during June-August 2006.

In November 2006 there were 10 best projects chosen according to the selection criteria and approved for grant by the Programme Steering Committee of Ministry of Construction and European Commission Delegation. After signing the grant contracts, from December 2006 to March 2009 the local Consortia have been fully responsible for implementing 10 projects using the decentralized ex-post mechanism. The PTF plays a contracting and assisting role in the SGP implementation process.
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Old July 5th, 2009, 11:20 AM
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Though most SGPs are of mixed themes they can be classified into 3 major themes. There are 4 SGPs (Hau Giang, Soc Trang, Vinh Long and Ca Mau) focus on urban upgrading (road, drainage, sanitation and housing). Three others (Kien Giang, Long An and Cao Lanh) focus on solid waste management (SWM). The SGPs of Can Tho and An Giang have mixed themes of urban waste management and greening. The SGP of Tra Vinh focuses only on urban greening. According to the UEPP-VN goal, the selected SGP characteristics (nature, content and context) and preliminary status of the urban environmental planning in the grant contract, the PTF prepared and carried out different trainings for Consortia members to address common issues (project planning and management, community participation, finance and administration) and technical themes (drainage and sanitation, solid waste management and urban greening) in the annual work plan (AWPs). Then all advisory missions and notes are composed in a SGP implementation manual (SIM) to assist the SGP Consortia in their day-by-day operation.

All Consortia have now completed their SGPs on time and to good quality. The An Giang Consortium established a waste colleting system of 10 tons per day, watered the existing trees and 12000 newly planted trees for the tourist area of Sam Mountain in Chau Doc Town. The Ca Mau Consortium designed, mobilized local residents and rehabilitated the street and riverside of 125 households as model for the city to upgrade all riverside segments in the City. Can Tho Consortium campaigned, provided media tools and books, planted trees to markets, schools and residents in 13 wards over Ninh Kieu district, together with a small SWM model for 372 households of Section 8, An Binh Ward. The Dong Thap Consortium mobilized 2200 households in Ward 2 for 65% correct sorting and composting of 5 waste tons and assisted 75 households with septic toilets. Hau Giang Consortium succeeded in solving polluted canals, primary school toilets for poor sections 5 and 6 in Ward 4 of Vi Thanh Town. Kien Giang built a SWM model at Vinh Bao ward for 45% correct sorting and composting 8 waste tons per day. Long An Consortium built a small SWM model for households in Ward 1 to sort, collect and compost 3 waste tons a day at a qualified facility. Soc Trang Consortium well solved 648m polluted drains for 426 households and provided septic toilet for 58 poor households in the Cluster 2 Ward 3. Tra Vinh Consortium well preserved over 1000 secular trees and planted 10,000 new verdures along streets and in industrial parks. Vinh Long Consortium improved the Phuoc Tho market of 200 traders and 2000 customers from regular flood, bad sanitation, and poor waste collection. Through these processes, different activities were carried out to support awareness raising, capacity building and sound actions. Major aspects of these practices can be reviewed below.

Forming and implementing Consortium modality: The Programme for the first time in Viet Nam applied largely this type of local partnership along the conventional model of project management unit (PMU). Consortium members (at least 3 members and one of them is mass organ as in Ca Mau) work together according to their responsibility and benefit indicated in the Partnership Agreement. Most Consortia well applied this model for networking in the local cities and at national and regional level. Governmental and business partners played very crucial role in steering and contributing to SGP. But there were still some constraints to Consortia such as inactive and less involving members, lack of needed members for coordination, lack of full time staff etc.

SGP governance in the local context: The governance of double accounting and project regulations was most complicated practices. The compliance to EC Practical Guide, local authority and audit demand/approval was very complicated and took away a lot from PTF and SGPs implementation time which is already rather short. The prevailing use of English against popular Vietnamese documents at local authority was also time consuming and inflexibility. However the PTF and SGPs has coordinated well in gradually setting a workable administrative and finance procedure and coordination.

Community development: There were really dynamic and significant experiences of PTF assistance and SGP efforts in this “soft activities” area. The resulted high awareness, active participation, local ownership were attributed to the careful attention to and the solutions for the interests of local communities using relevant partners (Women Union, Youth League and related motivating groups), effective mobilizing methods and skills. Community Committed Compacts were also made and endorsed to safeguard the achievements. Major lessons were also learnt that the Consortia must act as “a daughter-in-law of hundred kinships” to inform, explain and involve local people in all stages of their projects.

Technical solutions: Most SGP combine the grant condition (short-time, small budget) and expectation (replicable model) and appropriateness to local context (low cost for poor areas, site clearance, design as current practices for local approval etc.). Upgrading SGPs (Ca Mau, Soc Trang and Hau Giang) mainly applied the covered box culverts (brick or concrete structure) to replace stagnant polluted canal or earth drains. They also established a regular waste collecting system so that no litter can block and pollute the drainage again. The stakeholders and community participation in planning and construction helped them to overcome the project most difficult task: the site clearance. The local supervising groups also provide good feedback during implementation. Major lessons learnt were insufficient (Ca Mau, Chau Doc). For all cases, the design-tender-approval required by local authorities for physical facilities was very long.

SWM: Most Consortia had these activities which vary. The first group of Can Tho, Cao Lanh, Kien Giang and Long An tried the most complete process, from sorting out at households to collecting and processing inorganic and organic wastes using environmental friendly techniques. The An Giang, Soc Trang and Hau Giang Consortia establish a new waste collecting system to prevent littering in targeted areas (tourist area, poor residence). Vinh Long and Ca Mau improved the actual waste collecting services for urban market and riverside residence. These pilot actions have shown that solution to urban waste problem is possible but its sustainability requires regular efforts, good planning and relevant funding mechanism for the entire SWM system.

Urban greening: Urban greening is important to MDR town environment. There was some typical intervention under SGPs. Tra Vinh Consortium focuses on promoting urban greening property in entire area of Tra Vinh town. The An Giang Consortium carried out trees upgrading for a famous tourist area of Sam Mountain. The Can Tho Consortium designed and planted new trees of good types for the Ninh Kieu district, a centre of the metropolitan. These SGPs have shown that planting new trees and maintaining old trees to benefit urban society can be possible by all cities (low cost, simple planting and caring techniques) but they need city attention and regular efforts in planning, public participation, planting and preserving/maintaining.

Sustainability: The experiences reflect various concerns and efforts in sustaining the SGP themselves and up-scaling or replicating them to other area and cities. For upgrading and greening SGPs they are the design, implementation, operation and maintenance (O&M) plan and handover of the project outcomes to relevant successor. With pipe irrigation system the water supply for tree and sanitation in Sam Mountain of An Giang is more sustainable than by water truck. Ca Mau provides plans and fresh experience for the town to go on riverside rehabilitation for other segments. For SWM SGPs, post project continuation is more challenging as the grant intervention is far different from normal conditions. However some upscale and replications are sought in most SGPs. Long An hands over the compost facility to a private runner and replicates the model to other 6 district towns using provincial environmental fund. Kien Giang transfers the composting system to operation by Chau Thanh district. Cao Lanh and Can Tho handover the composting system to the public works companies and committed to applying to other areas in the city. The mid-term review, internal self assessment of most involved members and actual facts have shown that there are considerable awareness changes, improved capacity and environmental enhancement brought about from SGPs process. Although the SGP experiences are still subject to the evaluation of relevant stakeholders and the external monitoring, the PTF and the Consortia believe that they will be useful references for cities in MDR and elsewhere to improve their environment.

(Source: ACVN)
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Old July 8th, 2009, 10:26 PM
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Default HCMUARCH Urban Planning Curriculum Revision Process

This video presents the experience of revising the Urban Planning curriculum of the Ho Chi Minh University of Architecture. The urban planning curriculum is now very much student centered and applies new training methods to ensure students develop approriate competencies. The curriculum revision process was supported by the Urban Environmental Planning Programme in Vietnam. This Programme received the financial support from the Delegation of the European Commission to Vietnam and was implemented through the Ministry of Construction in Vietnam.

Part 1:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_RUMlh4HIg

Part 2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdoJEeSxC6U
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