The construction will include a 20-ha botanical garden and museum which will display over 20,000 species of flora and fauna of Việt Nam. It will also have a research centre as well as facility to preserve gene resources.

Lê Dũng, general director of the Science Technology and Production Corp (PTC), which is in charge of developing the project, said: “The museum is the first large-scale complex of culture and science in Việt Nam. Through exhibitions, publications and special programmes, the museum will introduce Việt Nam’s natural history and environment to locals and foreigners.”

During the first phase of construction from 2018 to 2022, the botanical garden and the museum will open for visitors.

PTC will invite 200 local and foreign scientists and researchers to take part in the project.

The total investment will be US$533 million, of which $219 million will be used to build the museum and botanical garden, and $316 million for collecting exhibits.

The city will provide 20 per cent of the costs by donating land and funding for site clearance, predevelopment and infrastructure. The remaining will be sought from individuals and organisation in the country and overseas.

The project was approved by the city government in 2005, and warmly welcomed by local and international organisations.

The city signed an agreement with the Việt Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations to support the project in all science and technology fields.

Thanks to the San Francisco-HCM City Sister City Committee, the project has received technical assistance from the Smithsonian Institute in the US.

San Francisco-based Stevens & Associates helped create the master plan for the project, while the San Francisco branch of Lord Cultural Resources Planning & Management Inc supported the exhibition design.

On March 7, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee and a 30-member delegation visited the project site in District 9 during a visit to HCM City.

“The mayor’s visit was an opportunity to boost the project so it can be developed soon,” said Dũng.

Viet Nam News - March 20, 2017