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L’Union européenne et la France se mobilisent pour la prévention des inondations dans la ville de Dien Bien Phu
On the occasion of the official visit of Viet Nam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to France from 3 to 5 November 2021, Mr. Bertrand Walckenaer, Deputy General Director of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and HE Mr. Dinh Toan Thang Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to France signed two financing agreements for a project aiming at enhancing the flood risk management capacity of Dien Bien Phu City, Vietnam. The financial support includes a loan of EUR 24.65 million from AFD for infrastructure development and a EUR 1.5 million grant for technical assistance through the Water and Natural Resources Management Facility (WARM) funded by European Union.

Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including heavy rainfall and associated flooding – such as in the historical and touristic city of Dien Bien Phu, in northwest Vietnam, which is frequently exposed to flooding from the Nam Rom River. In order to address these challenges and support the resilience of this city of 150.000 inhabitants, AFD and the European Union, through WARM facility, are financing a new project, with respectively a EUR 24.65 million loan for infrastructure development and a EUR 1.5 million grant for technical assistance.

The joint project will be implemented from 2022 to 2026. It will contribute to improving the adaptation capacity to climate change of Dien Bien province, in particular to face Nam Rom river flooding. The project will reduce the riverbank erosion and urban flooding. It is expected to improve the livelihood of the riverine population along the Nam Rom.

The project will do so by constructing and operating hydraulic works along the Nam Rom River (rehabilitation of the riverbank, weirs). Beyond the construction of hard infrastructures, the project will assist Dien Bien Phu city in adopting nature-based approaches with ecofriendly engineering techniques and the development of spaces with more room for the river during high flooding periods.

On the occasion of the signature Hervé Conan, AFD Country Director in Vietnam said “We are delighted to sign two financing agreements for this project, which shows our capacity to improve resilience of vulnerable provinces to climate change in Viet Nam, in line with the investment strategy of Vietnam and latest commitments of the Vietnamese Prime Minister during the COP26, as well as the international commitments of France.”

The EU’s Ambassador to Vietnam, Giorgio Aliberti, said “The European Union is pleased with the signing of both financing agreements. This marks an important milestone which paves the way for more climate change adaptation investments to ensure the resilience of Vietnam’s development. The WARM Facility is expected to leverage further investments. This type of initiative is fully in line with EU’s global priorities and the external dimension of the EU’s Green Deal, and also helps Vietnam to deliver on its climate change commitments.”

“The project marks the historical relationship and the close cooperation between France and Vietnam. Thanks to the support of the European Union and AFD, the province of Dien Bien will gradually achieve its strategic orientation towards sustainable development to achieve the objectives of poverty reduction and capacity building for the management and prevention impacts of climate change, while preserving and enhancing its historical and cultural heritages” said Le Thanh Do, President of the People's Committee of Dien Bien province.

Along with financing for infrastructure, a technical assistance to the project through an EU grant via the WARM Facility will be implemented. The support will build local stakeholders' capacity in project implementation and multi-disaster risk management. Capacity-building will among other include hazard and vulnerability mapping and promoting integrated urban development strategies. The project will also provide the local authorities with a better decision-making tool through hydrological data analysis and the development of a hydrological and hydraulic model of Nam Rom river system.

About WARM Facility

The Water and Natural Resources Management (WARM) Facility supports the preparation and implementation of more strategic investment projects, including hard and soft infrastructure, in the areas of water and other natural resources management, responding to key local challenges like floods and coastal erosion that climate change exacerbates. In addition, the experience gained through these projects will contribute to strategic policy dialogue on climate, environment and natural resources management. Under the agreement, the EU provides a grant of EUR 20 million to AFD. In coordination with the Vietnamese central and local governments, AFD will mobilize the WARM Facility to prepare and implement investment projects co-financed by AFD loans and Vietnam’s own resources over the period 2021-2029 for an estimated total amount of EUR 200 million.