The Crystal Sustainability Series: Ho Chi Minh City’s Le Hoang Quan and European Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas

Today, “The Crystal Sustainability Series” continues as we showcase interviews with Le Hoang Quan – Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee– and Siim Kallas – European Commissioner for Transport.

Le Hoang Quan – Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City was identified as a finalist in the 2013 City Climate Leadership Awards, and in his interview Chairman of the city’s People’s Committee Le Hoang Quan discussed urban resilience as well as cities’ role in the growth of developing nations.

Le Hoang Quan called addressing climate change “a critical issue for the survival of the cities, of the countries and of the world,” and called out engagement of the people and their communities as the key driver in the effort to curb climate change.

“We – the responsible body – see the importance of cooperation between governments, cities and people… But more importantly how essential it is to interact with communities, with the people of every country so that they may understand the damaging effects of climate change and inspire them to take action.”

Le Hoang Quan also emphasized the critical role that cities play, particularly when it comes to developing countries.

“It is a guiding principle and objective of the C40 organisation that cities are to be the driving force behind the development of countries.”

Siim Kallas – European Commissioner for Transport

In his Crystal Sustainability Series interview, European Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas provided unique perspective on how urban planning – particularly with respect to transport infrastructure – can play a major role in creating sustainable cities.

Mr. Kallas explained that at the heart of all cities, certain challenges – like transport infrastructure – must be addressed:

“All cities in terms of political structure are very different – the elections are different, the politicians are different…but of course, the challenges are the same. I think that the exchange of experiences is productive. As we see during [the 2013 City Climate Leadership Awards] there are a lot of examples, a lot of creative thinking everywhere.”

Mr. Kallas said that for many cities, transport remains an important focus in their sustainability efforts:

“Conventional cars are a clear problem. They produce congestion and are also becoming for people less and less reliable as a mean of getting from A to B. So, the challenge is to provide attractive alternatives. Public transport has two key features where they can be more attractive: speed and frequency. But even more important is availability of full transport services. And this has been the focus of so many cities – great and workable alternatives.”

Mr. Kallas went on to explain that transport solutions fit within a larger picture of the structure of cities themselves, and that having more people closer to the center of cities helps with the problem as well.

More about The Crystal Sustainability Series

The Crystal Sustainability Series shares the stories of cities through interviews with mayors and leading experts. Previous videos have included the launch of the series, as well as interviews with former Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Ritt Bjerregaard, Director of the Department of the Environment in the City and County of San Francisco Melanie Nutter and CEO of the Climate Group Mark Kenber.

Stayed tuned in coming weeks as we present additional installments of The Crystal Sustainability Series.