Environment sector to harmonise economic development-environmental protection

Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh on August 4 asked the environment sector to make breakthrough changes in mindset and enhance public awareness of sustainable and environmentally-friendly lifestyle, thus harmonising the relationship between economic development and environmental protection.

Addressing a plenary session of the 10th National Environment Conference in Hanoi which drew 600 delegates, Thanh pointed to great challenges in the current environmental protection, including severe environmental pollution in many places and the degradation of biodiversity.

He asked the environment sector to continue diversifying resources for environmental protection activities, while paying more attention to the environmental factor in the value structure of goods and services, strengthening the law enforcement in environmental activities, and increasing the use of mechanisms, tools and State management measures for environmental protection.

He also requested ministries, sectors and localities to, right after the conference, promptly build and implement specific action programmes and plans, while multiplying good models in the field to make positive changes and obvious outcomes in the work.

According to Minister of Environment Tran Hong Ha, the conference, which is held every five years, is taking place in a special context where green recovery is a global trend and green and circular economy is being promoted in Vietnam.

He highlighted strong changes in the environmental protection work, from policies to actions. Environmental issues are always placed at the center of the agenda, development programmes, strategies, master plans and plans of the country with the highest goal of protecting people's health, ensuring the quality of the living environment, and preserving biodiversity and ecosystems, he said.

However, he pointed to a number of current environmental problems, including unreasonable exploitation of environmental resources.

At the session, participants focused on defining changes, challenges and orientations for the environmental protection in the next period, highlighting Vietnam’s efforts in engaging in global environmental issues, measures to promote green economy and ecological industrial parks, and the promotion of businesses’ role in environmental protection. They also shared experience in safeguarding the environment.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen asserted that the conference takes place at an important time when Vietnam is realising commitments announced at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

She said that in order to achieve the goal of net zero emissions by 2050, it is necessary for Vietnam to prioritise six actions drawn from lessons learned in the world. Vietnam needs to strengthen climate legislation to guide and implement domestic climate actions towards zero emissions targets.

The UNDP representative advised Vietnam to speed up the production of renewable energy, improving productivity, and protecting labourers and vulnerable groups. Vietnam should design an innovative and dedicated climate finance strategy to facilitate green finance flows from all investment and development sources, she said, adding that it needs a more systematic and cohesive circular economy approach to support low-carbon and climate-resilient economic development.

Wiesen stressed that nature-based development is Vietnam's sustainable path. She also recommended the country needs to strive for an inclusive transformation that puts the people and social justice at the centre of all policies.

The official pledged the UNDP and the UN are always willing to support the Vietnamese Government in its transition to a green, carbon-neutral, circular and climate-resilient economy.

On the sidelines of the conference, an exhibition has been held from August 4-5, spotlighting achievements in State management over environmental protection, and another displaying modern, environmentally friendly production models and technologies, advanced waste treatment technologies in various fields.