Valuing the Benefits of Nature-based Solutions for Integrated Urban Flood Management in Thailand and Vietnam


According to projections by the United Nations, by 2050, 68 percent of the world population will live in urban areas, up from 55 percent in 2018. Globally, floods are the most frequent of all natural disasters. They are responsible for causing more damage than any other weather or non-weather related disaster. It is estimated that 150 to 200 million people worldwide are at risk of floods.

The exposure of countries in the Mekong region to the impacts of flooding is increasing rapidly, driven by population growth, urbanisation, climate change and economic development. These factors are exacerbating pre-existing water quantity and quality challenges. As a result, solutions which seek to prevent, and help countries recover from, floods are needed.

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are one of several approaches to urban planning. NbS are defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits”.

Indeed, NbS are increasingly being integrated into urban planning to provide more cost-effective and flexible approaches to address the challenges of urban flood management, while also generating a wide range of water supply and other co-benefits that contribute to broader environmental, economic and social improvements in the urban landscape.


In partnership with the World Bank and local partners, the Australian Water Partnership is supporting the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) and the International Centre for Environmental Management (ICEM) to develop a comprehensive framework for identifying and evaluating the full range of benefits associated with NbS in the context of Integrated Urban Flood Management (IUFM) in the Mekong.

This work builds on earlier ‘water sensitive cities’ initiatives in Australia and China, as well as on the Investment Framework For Economics of Water Sensitive cities (INFFEWS) tools developed by CRCWSC. The activity will be underpinned by four case studies that will provide proof of concept for wider application across the Mekong region.

Specifically, the activity aims to develop and test a Guide and associated tools for the economic valuation of NbS for IUFM in the Mekong region, with a particular emphasis on flood management in Thailand and Vietnam. By doing so, the activity will seek to demonstrate the economic and scientific evidence base for NbS as an essential strategy in urban planning and development.

Knowledge transfer and capacity building for national institutions and local experts on the tools for economic valuation and investment evaluation are another key aspect of the activity.


NbS concepts are being explored in four case study sites:

  • Tam Bình Park, Thủ Đức district, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Phu Quoc island, Duong Dong catchment, Vietnam
  • Sukhumvit District, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Sukhumvit Road, Rayong, Bangkok, Thailand.

A training program—targeted at government policymakers, senior planners, strategy leaders and managers, as well as civil society and private sector representatives in Thailand and Vietnam—is being delivered throughout this activity.

This activity is due for completion in mid-2021, with a regional conference expected to be held at that time.


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Project Lead

Water Sensitive Cities Australia
Ben Furmage
Chief Executive Officer


South-East Asia




World Bank






(Jul 2020 – Nov 2021)


  • Thailand (lead): Office of Natural Resources and Environment Policy (ONEP)
  • Vietnam (lead): Phu Quoc Economic Zone Management Board (PQEZMB), Department of Construction (DOC), Department of Planning and Architecture (DPA), HCMC Urban Infrastructure Construction and Investment Project Management Unit.
  • World Bank country offices in Thailand and Vietnam



  • Integrated Urban Water Management