HÀ NỘI — Using economic tools could lead to significant changes in people’s awareness and behaviour in terms of environmental protection, a top official has said.
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Võ Tuấn Nhân made the statement at a conference held on Wednesday in Hà Nội.
The conference aimed to summarise, evaluate and propose changes to perfect the system of economic tools available for environmental protection in Việt Nam, including various taxes and fees.
Using economic tools would be clarified in the amended Law on Environmental Protection and would be an important legal foundation to protect the environment, said Nhân.
Speaking at the conference, associate professor Nguyễn Thế Chinh, director of the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment (ISPONRE), emphasised the importance of economic tools in protecting the environment.
He said countries around the world such as Australia, Belgium, Canada and Denmark had effectively used regulations related to fees and taxes to mininise air pollution, water pollution, waste and usage of environmental products.
The fees and taxes help to adjust the behaviour of both manufacturers and customers as the former has to change production technology to minimise the pollution, said Chinh.
In Việt Nam, the challenge was how to create a drive for people to change their awareness, he said.
The latest research of the ISPONRE showed Việt Nam applied economic tools in few fields, such as forest environment services, waste and natural resources.
In 2018, the country collected more than VNĐ2.9 trillion (US$126 million) of fees from forest environment services whereas in 2017, it got more than VNĐ2.1 trillion ($90.3 million) of fees from wastewater treatment and more than VNĐ2.4 trillion ($103 million) of fees from mineral exploitation.
Chinh said the difficulty was that in Việt Nam, taxes and fees applied in the environment sector were too low, while regulations on allocating and using taxes and fees for environmental protection were unclear.
To improve the problem, the ISPONRE proposed setting up a plan to re-arrange the system of economic tools and set up regulations related to the tools.
Deputy Minister Nhân asked the institute to continue working with international and domestic experts to complete further research and then recommend legal policies to apply economic tools in protecting the environment in Việt Nam. — VNS