Viet Nam puts actions together for sustainable development

15 Dec 2004

Ha Noi - A National Conference opened this morning to discuss the implementation of the National Strategic Orientation for Sustainable Development, which was approved by the Government last August in its Decision No.153. The two-day Conference gathered high-level officials from the Party, the Government, the National Assembly and provinces, as well as representatives from businesses, research institutions, mass organizations and Donors/NGOs communities.

The Conference includes in its second day six forums covering the most important areas for Sustainable development in Viet Nam. Through these forums, participants will discuss actions of each sector and locality in order to implement the Strategy.

Commonly known as Viet Nam Agenda 21, the Strategic Orientation for Sustainable Development provides broad directions for sustainable development in Viet Nam, with human development placed in the centre. Viet Nam Agenda 21 indicates nineteen priority areas to achieve fast and effective economic development; reduce poverty; generate employment; ensure social equity; pay adequate attention to health, education while protecting the environment.

Viet Nam’s vision, as stated by the First Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, is very clear: achieving fast, effective and sustainable development as well as combining economic growth with social progress and equity and environmental protection. “Being increasingly aware of the trends of our times and, especially, stemming from the country’s actual needs, the Vietnamese Government recognizes fundamental requirements of sustainable development - a natural trend of vital importance to the development process of countries, including Viet Nam,” DPM Nguyen Tan Dung noted in a meeting with Ambassador and Heads of Diplomatic missions on the Strategy earlier in October this year.

According to Vice Minister Phan Quang Trung of Ministry of Planning and Investment, this National Conference on Sustainable Development is a good opportunity for all stakeholders to fully understand the principles of sustainable development, discuss measures to implement the nineteen priority areas and reach consensus on the National Action Programme to implement Viet Nam Agenda 21.UNDP Resident Representative a.i., Mr Subinay Nandy, welcomed Viet Nam’s launching of this Strategy as an important step towards sustainable development. “The Viet Nam Agenda 21 marks a milestone in the country’s articulation of its development vision. The strategy clearly identifies development priorities for the coming decade and how to achieve sustainable development by integrating the three pillars of economic growth, poverty reduction and environmental protection,” he said.

“Addressing increasing inequality is an emerging challenge facing the country. The benefits of growth must be widely shared if development is to truly improve the well-being of all the people, particularly the vulnerable and marginalized groups who have benefited least from this growth.” He also called for more active participation of people; local capacity building and reducing pressures that urbanization/industrialization poses on the environment”.

Speaking at the Conference, Mr. Nguyen Viet Thong, Vice Chairman of the Party Central Committee for Ideology and Culture reassured the special attention that the Party pays to sustainable development. “Sustainable development is clearly a vital direction for Viet Nam development,” said Mr. Thong.

“The Swedish International Development Agency’s (SIDA) point of departure is that each country is responsible for its own environment and natural resources and that development cooperation should be based on the needs of SIDA’s partners in cooperation,” said Mr Ian Olov Agrell, Minister, Counselor of the Swedish Embassy. “Therefore SIDA attaches great importance to strengthening and developing the capacity of partner countries to analyze and take actions to solve their environmental problems and to promote sustainable development. We believe that the support to the Agenda 21 is an important way to develop such capacity at all levels”.

Leading up to the conference the Danish Ambassador, Peter Lysholt Hansen, said: ”Sustainable development is the single most important key to continued economic growth and permanent reduction of poverty. Denmark welcomes the Strategy for implementation of Viet Nam Agenda 21. The environmental situation in Viet Nam is critical, with polluted water ways, soil degradation and increased poor air quality. This needs specific attention and Denmark will in the coming five years support Viet Nam through our development cooperation in environment amounting USD 42 million. The focus for this development cooperation will be poor densely populated areas and urban and industrial areas and marine protected areas”.

On the challenges to Viet Nam in implementing the Strategy, DPM Nguyen Tan Dung mentioned the low quality of economic growth; the ineffective resource mobilization and allocation in the entire society; the weak competitiveness of many production and business; the far-from-advanced scientific and technological standards and emerging pressing social and environmental issues.

The Government has instructed ministries and provinces to quickly take the initiative in building their own action plans to implement the Strategy, in close collaboration with social organizations, enterprises, schools, non-government organizations and with the participation of local people.

“The National Assembly and People’s Council members will support the implementation of the Strategy through our legislation development and oversight functions” said Mr. Ho Duc Viet, Chairman of the Committee of Science, Technology and Environment of the National Assembly in his opening remark at the National Forum on Local Agenda 21 and participation of major group. “It is important that the National Council for Sustainable Development that will be established will maintain broad consultations to ensure that voices from people are heard to support effective implementation and monitoring,” Mr. Viet added.

The Conference was organized by the Ministry of Planning and Investment under the framework of the project "Formulation and Implementation of Viet Nam’s Agenda 21", which was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Governments of Sweden and Denmark.

Contact Information

Pham Thanh Hang, UNDP Programme Officer, phone 9421495 (ext 151)
or
Nguyen Viet Lan, UNDP Public Information Associate (ext 186)