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Sustainability Alliance of Urban Networks in Asian Cities (SAUNAC)

Funded by the European Union's ERASMUS+ Programme


is funded by the European Union’s ERASMUS+ programme and is a partnership of 5 European and 6 Vietnamese universities. The activity aims to build the capacity of the universities in Vietnam and their stakeholders to give them the tools to enable a transition in Vietnam through a number of activities that educate professionals and students to develop viable solutions for smart sustainable cities.

This new cooperation between universities, enterprises and public bodies provides valuable opportunities for students to learn by designing solutions for environmental challenges in the cities as part of their Higher Education studies. In the longer term participants will form sustainable alliances, not only between universities in Vietnam but also between universities and enterprises at the regional, national and international level.

SAUNAC will bring benefit to:

  • Higher Education Institutions in Vietnam through new links between other universities and industry and increased capacity and delivery tools to modernise education and bring new provision to Vietnam.
  • Students will be involved through pilot teaching and activities under project. Students will take part in surveys, post-pilot teaching evaluation.
  • Enterprises participating in the SAUNAC project will get a valuable opportunity to become familiar with the new theories and innovations developed in the local HEIs. Above all the enterprises will see the students as future employees working in the cooperation projects between HEIs and other organisations.
  • European HEIs interested in cooperation with South-East Asian universities. These organisations get direct added value from the SAUNAC in creating favourable soil for forthcoming cooperation in education, staff and students exchange as well as joint research and development activities.
  • European companies active in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in Vietnam.  As the activity develops, more and more European companies of all sizes but especially medium-sized European companies will benefit from European trained Vietnamese to work and grow the business in the Vietnamese market with highly qualified and reliable employees. 


SAUNAC has four key objectives:

  1. Accelerating the design, development and uptake of viable solutions for sustainable cities by enhancing cooperation between Vietnamese & European HEIs and regional authorities such as municipalities and to communicate successful approaches reinforced with an international Sustainable City student competition and a Start-Up competition for students.
  2. To develop a joint course on creating sustainable cities involving HEIs and regional authorities and to disseminate parts as open courseware to be used and to set an example for other regions, having broad impact on the creation of sustainable cities in the regions involved.
  3. To investigate, exchange, and test best practices of innovative teaching approaches, including blended learning, distance learning, flipped classroom and ICT methods, and to implement those in a joint course (15 credits) on creating sustainable cities.
  4. To help Vietnamese Universities to find their way to a Vietnamese Innovation Pedagogy Approach similar to that what has been developed in the European universities. It will be reached through three specific aims:
  • Introducing tested active teaching and learning practices in Higher Education in Vietnam. This will include testing and adjusting of European practices and embedding them into the structures (strategies and curricula) of Vietnamese Universities
  • Strong contribution to the dissemination of reliable information on the adaptability of tested pedagogical methods at Vietnamese universities in the Vietnamese university networks, by coordinating training workshops for lecturers and summer schools for students (funded nationally)
  • Promoting knowledge among European universities on the state-of-art and potential of the Vietnamese and, more widely, the South-East Asian HE sector. 


Despite the fact that Vietnam has been one of the most dynamic developing countries during the past two decades, its capability to invest into the environment protection and sustainability is very limited, especially in urban areas. Alongside significant economic growth, the urbanization process in Vietnam is happening rapidly. Currently there are around 770 cities and towns with 35% of the total population in Vietnam living in urban areas compared with 25% in 1996 and is expected to increase to 45% by 2020. 
















This fast paced growth is creating significant pressures and negative impacts on the environment, infrastructure and sustainable development. In the context of urban-societal needs we will form an integral approach to obtain sustainable cities.

In 2012, the Vietnamese Government officially approved the Vietnam National Green Growth Strategy (VNGGS) for the period 2011 - 2020, vision to 2050. VNGGS is structured around 3 strategic tasks:

  1. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting the use of clean and renewable energy.
  2. Greening production based on i) Implementation of a clean industrialization strategy via adjusting sector master plans; ii) Development of green industry, agriculture, technologies and equipment; iii) Investment in natural capital; iv) Prevention and treatment of pollution.
  3. Greening lifestyle where traditional lifestyle is combined with the means to create quality and traditionally rooted living standards, including the creation of green jobs.

SAUNAC will help partners in Vietnam to contribute to the effective delivery of these strategies.