Haiphong City was founded on the 19th of September 1888. It is one of the six first-class Cities in Vietnam and is the third largest one (after Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Noi Capital). It is important to note that first-class Cities are under the direct control of the central Government and are therefore administratively equivalent to Provinces or States. Haiphong City has 17 districts (7 urban, 8 rural, and 2 islands) with a total population of 1.8 million people.
Haiphong is situated in the northeast of Vietnam and west of the gulf of Tonkin. It is 102km from Ha Noi and 200km from the Vietnam – China border. The City lies in the strategic and economic centre connecting to a chain of corridor cities of Vietnam and China. Haiphong is the gateway to the sea of northern Vietnam. The City is also a centre for tourism development in the North of the country.
Haiphong People’s Committee (HPPC) has had formal agreement on research and collaboration with the former School of Integrative Systems (Prof Ockie Bosch was the Head of the School) at the University of Queensland since 2007. HPPC do keep a strong collaboration with Prof Bosch and his newly formed Systems Design and Complexity Management Alliance in the University of Adelaide Business School. Both sides have been working together to establish the Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve as an Evolutionary Learning Laboratory (ELLab) for sustainable development. The success and usefulness of the ELLab in helping to manage the many complex issues on Cat Ba Island will be showcased at the World Conference of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) in Haiphong in July 2013.
The successes of using a systems and ELLab approach in the Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve and the understandings of systems techniques through the involvement of many of Haiphong middle and senior managers (who also attended the AusAID-funded Australian Leadership Awards Fellowship course in 2009 that Professor Bosch and his team presented) have provided the Government of Haiphong City with confidence that an Evolutionary Learning Laboratory (ELLab) for sustainable development could be a solution to the lack of integrated planning in the governance of Haiphong City (one of the main leverage points identified during the systems modeling process of Cat Ba). Haiphong City is working toward becoming the first city in the world (‘World First’) which has the whole City to be managed with an integrated systems approach. The Haiphong ELLab will also be showcased at the ISSS Haiphong 2013 Conference.