Strengthening of the Vietnam Urban Forum (VUF) and Operationalizing the National Urban Upgrading Program (NUUP)



Approval Date
Proposal Focus
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type
Lesson Learned for Cities Alliance Members and Partners
Replicability: The grant design could be replicated but with some revision to reflect the local characteristics and to allocate resources to bring in the experienced staffs from the Government instead of international consultants to avoid the long procurement processes. A part of this funding should be designed for other activities such as capacity building for government officials at all levels through training, exchanging and learning experiences with similar organizations in the world. When the Project is over, the maintenance and operation of the Vietnam Urban Forum should gradually reduce its dependence on government funding (subsidies) and increase self-generated resources through its activities and members’ annual contribution fees.


Vietnam is engaged in a remarkable process of economic reform and spatial transition. Compared to other Asian countries, Vietnam's degree of urbanisation still is relatively low, but its urban population is forecast to double to 52 million by 2025. In 2000 and 2001 the Vietnam Urban Forum (VUF) was conceptualised as a medium for policy dialogue and structured exchange on urban development issues. VUF became operational in 2003, when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by key stakeholders in Vietnam's urban development process, including ministries such as MoC, MPI, MoNRE, MoF, and MoHA, the ACVN, and the City of Hanoi's People's Committee. Multilateral donors - World Bank, ADB, UNDP – and some bilateral donors (SDC and BTC) participated as well. Since 2005 other donors and associations such as UN HABITAT, AFD, JICA, GTZ, and SEAWUN have joined as well. In addition, a National Urban Upgrading Strategy and Overall Investment Plan for Urban Upgrading to the year 2020 (NUUP) was prepared and finalised in 2008. During its elaboration, broad stakeholder dialogue and consultations with local authorities have led to a deeper understanding of urban upgrading issues and rationales in Vietnam.
The overarching objective of this project is to strengthen the Government of Vietnam’s capability to develop effective and efficient inclusive urban development policies, thereby improving the well-being of the urban poor. As both components will be developed through parallel and complementary activities, there is ample opportunity for synergies and mutual leverage, such as using the Vietnam Urban Forum as the platform for stakeholder information, discussion and refinement of the NUUP implementation framework.
The proposed components in this project are focused on two key national initiatives: i) the Vietnam Urban Forum, and ii) the National Urban Upgrading Program. Maximum alignment between the levels of operation as well as between these two parallel components will remain an overriding objective. Component 1: Institutional Strengthening of the Vietnam Urban Forum (VUF) The component will support the re-establishment of the Vietnam Urban Forum as an effective platform for stakeholder coordination in the urban sector in Vietnam. Phase 1: Preparation and Assessment. Phase 2: Implementation and Dissemination. Component 2: NUUP – Develop a Detailed Implementation Strategy for the National Urban Upgrading Program The component will demonstrate the ability of city-wide pro-poor upgrading in Vietnam on a national scale, by establishing a feasible National Program Framework for urban upgrading and slum prevention considering the institutional, legal, regulatory, financing and advocacy role of the national government visà-vis local governments and communities. Phase 1: Stocktaking and Consultation. Phase 2: Developing the National Program – Operational Framework Component 3: Project Administration and Supervision
Expected Impacts and Results
On the Vietnam Urban Forum After 2 years of project implementation, Vietnam Urban Forum has been changed substantially. VUF has been widened with many more members from diverse sectors. The number of forum members is currently 103 members, including 7 groups (Multilateral Donor Organizations, Bilateral Donor Organization, Government Ministries and Agencies, Professional Associations and Academic Institutions, Cities, Private Sector Corporations and Firms, Non-governmental Organizations). The events it organizes and/or coordinates, as well as the new VUF website have been well received by members and helped improve VUF’s image, voice and influence. Guided by the Strategic Plan 2014-2020 developed under this Grant, the Forum's activities will be more diverse, including general operations and activities based on the initiative of the group members or individual members. The activities of the VUF have more contents and different sectors, such as the issue of consultation policies, laws and regulations, climate change adaptation, building green growth cities. To ensure the sustainability of VUF, Ministry of Construction has issued the Decision No.180/QD-BXD dated February 8, 2013, on Promulgating Regulation on Organization and Operation of Coordination Committee of Vietnam Urban Forum. After the project ended, the Ministry of Construction is committed to continuing support for the Vietnam Urban Forum Office, maintaining the role of the UDA as the Standing Unit and implementing agency for the Forum's activities per the prepared Strategic Plan, which is being submitted to the Chairman of Vietnam Urban Forum. The outputs of the Grant will contribute directly to the VUF development. UDA, as the acting body, has the knowledge and be capable of running VUF as a quasi-NGO to interface with urban stakeholders for the VUF members’ interests. In addition to the counterpart fund provided to complement the Grant from CA, the Grant has also mobilized resources from other donors such as UN-HABITAT (for some translation and interpretation) and GIZ (conference cost and participant accommodations), as well as from VUF member organizations that shared costs of organizing different knowledge and experience sharing events. This could be considered as one of the successes of VUF. 5. Knowledge exchange : While the Grant was centered on the creation and dissemination of knowledge through its analytical works and various VUF knowledge and experience sharing events, there were also opportunities to exchange knowledge at the international level as part of the Grant implementation: • World Urban Forum 2012 in Italia; • Cities Alliance Annual Meeting 2012 in Hanoi; • Geospatial Asia Forum 2012 in Hanoi; • ASEAN Regional Forum in Singapore and Nanning, China. On the National Urban Upgrading Program The project has made a significant contribution to the operationalization of the NUUP by developing a key analytical foundation and a viable financing framework for implementing the NUUP. The grant was also instrumental in the preparation of the Mekong Delta Region Urban Upgrading Project (MDR-UUP), which became effective on August 9, 2012 and shares a common objective to support the Government of Vietnam in improving the wellbeing of the urban poor through operationalizing the NUUP. For that reason, a number of activities from the project have been transferred to the MDR-UUP to improve implementation and leverage the overall synergies that will be created. They will be taken up by Component 5 (Technical Assistance to MOC) of the MDR-UUP to build upon the existing outputs developed under this Grant to support the operationalization of the NUUP. This Grant directly contributes to the operationalization of the National Urban Upgrading Program as one of its two main components. The Grant has developed a key analytical foundation and a viable financing framework for implementing the NUUP. A number of activities from the Grant have been transferred to the MDR-UUP to improve implementation and leverage the synergies between the Grant and the MDR-UUP to continue providing support to the NUUP. In addition, the activities also contributed to the formulation of Urban Law through the International Consultative Conference on Urban Law (2012), and to the formulation of the direction and implementation plan of the National Urban Development Program.