The central city of Da Nang was awarded the title of National Capital in the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)’s One Planet City Challenge 2018 in a ceremony on August 31, making it the only city in Vietnam to join a list of 21 cities around the world in the final round of the global award, according to the English-language daily Vietnam News.

It quoted Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, Deputy Chairman of the Da Nang City People’s Committee, as saying that the title was seen as the result of great efforts made by the city with support from WWF Vietnam in creating plans for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) and carbon emissions as well as smart traffic and energy-saving measures over the last several years.

“We have committed to cut 25 per cent of carbon emissions by 2030 by promoting the use of renewable energy in buildings and vehicles,” Mr. Tuan said. “The city also plans to generate power from burning rubbish and boost energy efficiency in production and services.”

He added that the “green” title will be a driving force for the city to develop more action plans in building Da Nang as a “smart and green” city by 2025.

Da Nang had submitted plans for solar power development, biofuel use, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes, and wastewater treatment.

Two solar power projects with total capacity of 7.4 MW have been scheduled for construction at the former Khanh Son rubbish dump and Da Nang International Airport in the time to come.

Director of WWF Vietnam, Mr. Van Ngoc Thinh, said Da Nang had positively promoted its commitment and action plans to attain the “green” title.

He said the city, with unique natural surroundings and protected areas, is seen as the most livable city in Vietnam.

Its Son Tra Nature Reserve, just 10 km from the city’s downtown area, was home to just 20 red-shanked douc langur (Pygathryx nemaeus), an endangered species of primate, 20 years ago but the population has now increased dramatically.

“Many biologists from around the world are amazed at the protection of endangered primates and the city’s rich biodiversity,” Mr. Thinh said. “It is seen as a rare city, with forests from sea to mountain linking the Ba Na Nature Reserve in Da Nang and Bach Ma National Park in neighboring Thua Thien Hue province.”

Da Nang, along with three other cities in Vietnam - Hue (Thua Thien Hue), Hoi An (Quang Nam province), and Dong Ha (Quang Tri province) - entered the One Planet City Challenge in 2017 to show how cities can become hubs for creativity, ambition. and innovation in dealing with climate change.

The four cities all qualified out of 132 cities from 23 countries, but Da Nang was selected for the award.

According to a WWF statement, cities generate 70 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions and the WWF’s One Planet City Challenge is a biennial competition that recognizes and rewards cities for developing infrastructure, housing, transport and mobility solutions to power the global transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.

It added that 50 per cent of the global population live in urban areas and cities will be home to about 10 billion people by 2050.

In 2012, Da Nang was selected for an APEC project along with 20 low-carbon model cities with energy-efficient technologies, smart grids, and renewable power generation.

The city had cut 12,000 tonnes of carbon emissions through a pilot project of low-carbon models, including battery-powered bicycles, renewable energy, a metro system, and BRT routes between 2008 and 2011.

It has started a pilot project using low carbon emission LED lighting in 19 downtown streets to save an estimated 1 million kWh per year by 2020.

According to the city’s Department of Industry and Trade, around 30 per cent of its population uses solar power for water heating while around 20 five-star hotels and resorts using solar water heating systems.

The One Planet City Challenge was designed by the WWF to mobilize action and support from cities in global climate efforts, including the goals now set forth by the Paris Agreement. About 400 cities in the world have joined the program since 2011.