HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Planning and Investment on Friday announced a national action plan on "green growth" that focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the use of clean and renewable energy.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, Nguyen The Phuong, said that green growth is an important part of the country's industrialisation and modernisation goals, bringing them in line with a major 21st century global trend.
This will be achieved with international co-operation and commitments to ensuring sustainable development through green production, environmental protection and energy conservation, he said.
The action plan will attract due attention of the international community as well as domestic and foreign development organisations as it also focuses on support and co-operation in coping with climate change, a global issue, he added.
Viet Nam has always treasured the contributions of foreign partners like the World Bank, the US Agency for International Development, Belgium and the Republic of Korea in helping force national strategies and action plans for achieving green growth, Phuong said.
Viet Nam has to set aside land for planting forests, preserve its freshwater sources and construct international standard infrastructure in order to develop a green economy, experts say.
They said at a conference last week that the green economy has become a common trend in the global economic system and Viet Nam should follow suit.
As a developing country, Viet Nam needs to continue studying and perfecting relevant mechanisms and policies while learning lessons from the experiences of front-running countries in realising this concept in the near future, they said.
Dr. Nguyen The Chinh, deputy head of the Institute of Strategy and Policy in Natural Resources and Environment, said that "green economy" and environmental protection are two different categories with different connotations, but they combine under the rubric of sustainable development.
Other speakers at the meeting referred to ‘Agenda 21', an action plan on sustainable development was initiated at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Since then, the world community has been making concerted efforts to bring this programme into reality, the meeting heard.
In Viet Nam, the Government has so far passed more than 33 laws and 20 ordinances related to environmental protection including the Biodiversity Law, the Law on Forest Protection and Development, the Land Law, the Law on Water Resources and the Minerals Law.
These legal documents have been implemented across the nation in an effort to ensure environmental protection alongside socio-economic development, the meeting heard.
In addition, many directives have been issued and resolutions promulgated to promote environmental protection in line with the nation's development phases.
Recently, the seventh plenum of the 11th Party Central Committee issued Resolution No. 24-NQ/TW on actively coping with climate change, enhancing natural resource management and protecting the environment with a focus on shifting the growth model attached to the ongoing economic restructuring process towards green growth and sustainable development.
The resolution lays emphasis on developing the environmental economy by fostering the environmental industry, promoting environmental protection services including recycling, socialising environmental protection activities, increasing the use of renewable energy and ensuring sustainable production and consumption.
However, the green economy remains a relatively new concept in Viet Nam, requiring further study and the popularisation of related knowledge among leaders, policymakers, enterprises and residents, speakers said at the conference.
They noted that the green economy entails significant use of renewable energy, building a low-carbon society, revitalising the ecosystem and linking livelihoods with environmental restoration.
Upgrading Viet Nam's production technologies, most of which are outdated and consume excessive energy, and bringing them in line with a green economy will be a tough challenge for the country, and cannot be achieved without financial and technological assistance from developed countries, experts said.
They said the Vietnamese Government should create favourable conditions for renovating the nation's growth model – giving priority to developing high-tech industries with low carbon emissions and other environmentally friendly technologies.
Improved management of natural resources and restoration of the nation's ecosystems should be considered an indispensable task deserving top priority, they added.
They called for increased investments in scientific and technological research as also enhanced co-operation in green economy activities including the use of renewable energy, resource-saving measures, application of energy-saving production technologies and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
One of the most important initial steps to be taken at the very outset is creating a consensus on the green economy among leaders, enterprises and the people, experts said.
Representatives from international organisations shared their experiences in studying and implementing green growth-related activities in different countries, and affirmed their continued support for Viet Nam in this field. — VNS