Viet Nam Celebrates the World Environmental Day – 2005

05 Jun 2005

Buon Ma Thuot, Dak Lak - The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) and the Dak Lak Provincial People’s Committee organized the National Celebration of the World Environmental Day 2005 with the theme “Green cities: Plan for the Planet” with participation of representatives of the United Nations in Viet Nam.

Every year the World Environment Day is celebrated by all UN member states on June 5th. The main objective of these celebrations is to reaffirm our commitment to environment management as a critical and integral part of sustainable development agenda. It provides each one of us with an opportunity to carry out activities that address the identified environmental problems and issues within our local context. 

This year, San Francisco, California hosts the world celebration. More than 60 mayors, representing cities from across the globe gather in San Francisco to exchange ideas and sign a set of groundbreaking environmental actions for cities. These actions, collectively referred to as the Urban Environmental Accords - Green Cities Declaration, cover seven environmental categories that cities can address to enable sustainable urban living and improve the quality of life for urban dwellers: energy, waste reduction, urban design, urban nature, transportation, environmental health, and water.

In Viet Nam, Buon Ma Thuot city is selected to host the National Celebration emphasizes particular attention of the Government and all Vietnamese people to this particular group of cities, which are situated on the highland, surrounded by forests and undergoing rapid changes.

The Minister of MONRE, Mr. Mai Ai Truc pointed out that: “in recent years, the urbanization has been happening rapidly. Twenty-six percent of the population of Viet Nam live in 572 cities and towns. This unplanned urbanization process has created a series of negative impacts on environment, natural resources and ecological systems. For example, a vast of green land areas has been converted into cities and towns, increasing water consumption is causing depletion of water resources, safe treatment of solid waste and wastewaters from industrial zones have emerged as a big challenge. In addition, the urbanization leads to increasing flows of migrants from rural areas to cities and towns, making huge challenges on housing and other basic supplies”.

The UNDP Acting Resident Representative, Subinay Nandy mentioned that by 2020, 45% of the population will be living in urban centres and cities “this means an increase by an estimated 24 million urban people, which is more than double the current urban population in just 15 years”.  In his statement delivered at the National Celebration, Mr Nandy called for a better integration of environmental services into urban planning.  “Planning of environmental services needs to be fully integrated with all other social economic priorities, as part of urban planning. This calls for a strong cooperation between governmental institutions and service providers and population at all levels. In most cities and towns more attention needs to be paid to the following environmental services:

  • Green space per capita:  Cities in Viet Nam are behind by international standard. Parks can be easily included in plans for new housing developments.
  • Sewerage and rainwater drainage systems.
  • Adequate treatment provisions of waste and wastewater are mechanism in industrial zones.
  • There are many health risks from solid waste, and only a minor part of hazardous waste is treated.
  • Clean and safe water supply for all poor and new urban areas. This requires more investment in water purification and clean water supply.
Mr. Nandy also raised the four following critical aspects that should be taken into consideration by decision makers and planners “in the formulation and implementation of the socio-economic development plans that the Government, sectors and localities are now developing:

        i).   Good urban planning is essential to make a city green
        ii).  Improve environmental quality in cities and towns
        iii). Resource mobilization
        iv). Broad participation is essential for sustainable solutions to environmental problems.

Due attention paid to these four important factors will help “to ensure that Vietnamese people in general and urban residents in particular have a prosperous and a green future”, he added.

Mr. Mai Ai Truc called for concrete actions “to make Viet Nam cities and towns more beautiful by having more trees, not more blocks of concrete”. For the Central highland, besides making cities “greening”, it is of prime importance to protect the remaining forests and reforest the lost forest areas”, he added.

Contact Information

Mr. Dao Xuan Lai, Programme Officer,
Tel: 942 1495 Ext. 178, Email: dao.xuan.lai@undp.org
or
Dang Huu Cu, Public Affairs Associate
Tel: 942 1495 Ext: 179; Email: dang.huu.cu@undp.org