Sustainable Development: Life Support for Current and Future Generations

24 Jun 2002

Ha Noi - The bringing together of economic growth, social equity, and environmental protection is the ultimate goal of a new action plan that the Government of Viet Nam is preparing, with support from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Denmark. Today Vice Minister of Planning and Investment (MPI) Phan Quang Trung and UNDP Resident Representative Jordan Ryan signed a project providing US$2-million to support this effort.

main objective of the new project is to help ensure that this national action plan for sustainable development, also known as Viet Nam Agenda 21, will be broad-based, comprehensive, and provide measurable targets. The project also aims to strengthen the national capacity to promote and successfully implement sustainable development.

Through the five-year project, pilot programmes to plan sustainable development measures at local levels will be designed and implemented. Models and best practices for sustainable development will be replicated widely throughout the country.

"Adoption of concrete actions that will integrate the economic, social, and environmental needs of the nation is extremely important. We believe there will be a high interest at local level for implementing the recommendations of the Viet Namπs Agenda 21. Denmark would have a high interest in ensuring this widespread understanding of the fundamental actions needed for sustainable development," says Danish Ambassador to Viet Nam Bjarne H. Sørensen.

UNDPπs Jordan Ryan said, "The challenge is to make sustainable development a reality in Viet Nam. To have sustainble development, Viet Nam will need to answer tough questions and make hard choices." The project aims to help address issues ranging from the optimal pattern of development to the role of the government, the people and the private sector in fostering sustainable development.

The quest for rapid industrialization and modernization poses many challenges in the field of sustainable development. GDP is planned to double over the next ten years, the share of industry is targeted to rise from 36% in 2000 to 42% in 2010 and urbanization is expected to grow from less than a quarter in 2000 to a third by 2010. Each year the cities in Viet Nam add at least one million people and that creates problems with waste, sanitation, and air pollution.

On the feasibility of the Agenda, Mr Ryan said that Viet Nam has major advantages, including strong political commitment, willing donor partners like Denmark and a sound basis in environmental education. But he noted that some barriers remain that impeded sustainble development, including an appropriate institutional framework that incorporates sustainable development into strategies and plans.

MPI is chairing the formulation of this Agenda, in collaboration with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment and other concerned agencies. The Agenda will be presented at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg from 26 August to 4 September this year.

Contact Information

Ms Nguyen Viet Lan, Public Information Assistant
Tel: 942 1495; Fax: 942 2267