May 31, 2019

EuroCham Green Growth Sector Committee Conference: “Moving Toward Sustainable Cities”

On the 29th of May, EuroCham Green Growth Sector Committee and its partner, the Vietnam Green Building Council, co-organised the Conference: “Moving Toward Sustainable Cities”. EuroCham Vice-Chairman, Mr. Jean-Jacques Bouflet, and Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Mr. Hoang Tung, attended and delivered the opening speeches. 
The conference provided information on the role of green buildings, smart infrastructure, effective waste treatment systems, and clean energy toward sustainable development. It also provided cooperation opportunities for the private sector to join with Ho Chi Minh City in heading toward a sustainable city. It received over 150 participants, including representatives of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Government agencies, EuroCham Executive Committee Members, EuroCham members and partners, investors, developers, project owners and news agencies.

In his welcoming remarks, EuroCham Vice-Chairman Mr. Jean-Jacques Bouflet affirmed the European business community’s full support for Ho Chi Minh City in moving toward fast and sustainable development. Such a successful model of sustainable development should be built in cooperation with the public and private sectors, the Vice-Chairman of EuroCham emphasised and added that foreign investors are willing to contribute expertise and international experiences to support Ho Chi Minh City in addressing the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainability.
Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Mr. Hoang Tung, shared the city’s vision in heading toward a smart city. Deputy Director Hoang Tung expressed willingness to receive foreign expertise to overcome challenges to achieve sustainable growth.

Opening the presentation session, Executive Committee Member of the Vietnam Green Building Council (VGBC), Ms. Melissa Merryweather, underlined the importance of greener and healthier buildings in a sustainable city. Green buildings, though not always requiring expensive technology, needs actions from the top down: From developers and owners to the design team and contractors.

In a presentation entitled “Green Buildings and Solar Energy Towards Smart Cities”, EuroCham Vice-Chairman and Chairman of EuroCham Green Growth Sector Committee, Mr. Tomaso Andreatta, stressed that Ho Chi Minh City needs to become smarter quickly to ensure livability and sustainability given the current growth of population. Electricity, energy efficiency, priorities for infrastructure development and the Circular Economy were mentioned as fields the European business community would like to further engage with Ho Chi Minh City authorities to identify the right polities and involving the most effective means while heading toward sustainable development.
Concluding the presentation session, Associate Director of CBRE Asia Pacific Research, Ms. Liz Hung, brought messages from typical smart cities in Asia-Pacific: Adelaide in Australia; Singapore and Shanghai in China. Taking those cities as key examples, Ms. Liz Hung highlighted: Firstly, technology is enabling smarter city solutions; secondly, smart buildings featuring technological ecosystems are coming into life; and thirdly, people should be at the center of shaping greener and healthier places.

In the second session of the conference, Chairwoman of VGBC, Ms. Phan Thu Hằng, moderated a panel discussion themed: “Sustainable Cities and Green Buildings”. She was joined by Deputy Chief Officer of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Architecture, Mr. Huỳnh Xuân Thụ, and representatives of the private sector including Mr. Richard Colville from CBRE, Mr. Gavin Smith from Dragon Capital, Mr. Baptiste Legeret from INSEE, and Mr. Phạm Quang Huy from Saint-Gobain. In discussion, Mr. Huỳnh Xuân Thụ discussed cooperation opportunities for the private sector to join with the authorities in heading toward a sustainable city. He affirmed that Ho Chi Minh City would like to engage and cooperate closely with EuroCham and VGBC in building and actioning plans to ensure green and sustainable development, such as fighting against climate change, developing and publicising a handbook on mega city, raising public awareness of environmental protection, increasing the municipal management capacity, and so on. In return, representatives of enterprises shared their suggestions for a holistic approach toward sustainability, which includes completion of legal framework, comprehensive enforcement of regulations, and effective actions to be taken.

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