HA NOI (VNS) — A Learning Center on Environmental and Social Sustainability was established on Thursday to foster knowledge exchange and capacity building related to environmental and social safeguards and standards in Viet Nam.
The center is being built with initial funding support from the Australian government and technical support provided by other development partners including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the United States Agency for International Development and the Asian Institute of Technology Center.
A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed today to this effect.
"The mission of this center is to help fill the gap in Viet Nam's social and environmental safeguards capacity," World Bank country director Victoria Kwakwa said.
The learning center, housed at the Asian Institute of Technology Center in Viet Nam, will offer capacity building to project management units, district and provincial authorities, consultants and other stakeholders in social and environmental issues.
"Viet Nam has taken great strides in recent years in introducing legislation dealing with social and environmental safeguards and is rightly seen as leading the way in Asia in areas such as payment for forest ecosystem services," ADB country director Tomoyuki Kimura said.
"The challenge now is to ensure that the country develops the necessary technical skills and capacity to effectively implement its safeguard requirements."
Given the surge in investments in the infrastructure sector and Viet Nam's challenges of environmental pollution and climate change related vulnerability, the center is expected to play a critical role in building long-term capacity for the environmental and social aspects of development projects and programmes in Viet Nam on a sustainable basis.
The first activity of the center is a two-week training course on resettlement for trainers to ensure that trainers will be available to offer capacity-building courses later on. Specific capacity-building programmes targeted at local institutions will be designed to promote sustainable infrastructure and to ensure the integration of environmental and social issues within the lifecycle of projects. — VNS