Getting on the ground at RUCaS case study sites – Viet Nam, Lao PDR and Cambodia

August 1, 2023

Following on from our successful mission to Bangkok, Thailand in May, RUCaS team members visited Viet Nam, Lao PDR and Cambodia in June. Like Bangkok, the focus was getting a deeper understanding of context and stakeholders by visiting case study sites, to better understand the opportunities, the challenges and most importantly, the vision of the people on the ground.

Our teams visited 5 cities in 10 days:

  • Hanoi (Viet Nam) – We visited the Hanoi University of Civil Engineering (HUCE). Working with our program partner ICEM, we’re helping deliver a student design competition, and exploring ways to address heat and flooding issues at the university campus.
  • Vientiane (Lao PDR) – We met with representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) about becoming our Focal Point Ministry for Lao PDR. We also met with GGGI and visited  Nong Org marsh, a site that exemplifies how wetlands, marshlands and natural drainage functions provide valuable services for local communities and the wider city.
  • Luang Prabang (Lao PDR) – We visited the city’s heritage wetland ponds and investigated how nature-based solutions can enhance and extend the value of these traditional wetland ponds, which have been degraded by siltation and encroachment, as well as grey and blackwater discharges from houses and businesses.
  • Phnom Penh (Cambodia) – We met with representatives from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC) about becoming our Focal Point Ministry for Cambodia. We also met the Areiy Ksatr Municipality and toured the Areiy Ksatr development site, a new municipality and potential case study site. We discussed the masterplan process currently underway and how to incorporate water sensitive urban design principles.
  • Battambang (Cambodia) – We met with the Battambang Governor’s Office to discuss ways nature-based solutions could be utilised in the city centre, including to protect and rehabilitate a functioning wetland system around Battambang’s heritage railway station, to manage flooding and help preserve environmental and social values in and around Battambang and its historical precinct.
Meeting with Ms Nguyen Thi Lan Anh from ACDC (Viet Nam)
Field visit preparation on the Mekong River at Luang Prabang (Lao PDR)
Site visit to Areiy Ksatr, Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
HUCE Plaza heat trap and flooding spot, Hanoi (Viet Nam)
Nong Org wetland, Vientiane (Lao PDR)
Boeung Ra wetland, Toul Ta Ek Sangkat, Battambang (Cambodia)
Drains being built to protect 800 heritage buildings in Battambang (Cambodia)

We were joined by Australian embassy colleagues on the mission, and in each city, we also met with GEDSI stakeholders: Oxfam, Action to the Community Development Institute (ACDC), Cambodia Empowerment and Development Team (CEDT), Cambodia Children Trust (CCT), Lao Disabled People’s Association (LDPA) and Gender and Development Association (GDA). We learned about each group’s work and discussed how we can best incorporate inclusion principles into conceptual plans for local case studies, and from these identify opportunities to upscale for broader application throughout Mekong countries.

You can read more about our activities in the country mission reports, available here

We will be sharing insights on how we can use nature-based solutions to create climate-resilient and inclusive urban centres at our RUCaS Regional Conference,
to be held later in the year. Keep an eye out for updates.