Second National Sustainable Development Conference Opens: Making development more inclusive, sustainable and equitable

May 4, 2006

Ha Noi - In an effort to localize Viet Nam’s plan for sustainable development, commonly known as Viet Nam’s Agenda 21, social and political organizations joined academics and representatives from government agencies today at the Second National Conference on Sustainable Development.

The two-day event will review progress since the launch of Viet Nam’s Agenda 21 in 2004 and look at strategies to better integrate environmental and energy concerns into sectoral and provincial five-year-plans. Approved by the Prime Minister in 2004, Viet Nam’s Agenda 21 provides principles and broad directions for sustainable development in Viet Nam. The document includes 19 priority areas to achieve rapid economic growth; reduce poverty; generate employment; ensure social equity; and pay adequate attention to health, education while protecting the environment.

“The health of the economy is intrinsically linked with the health of the environment,” said UN Development Programme Acting Resident Representative, Neil Reece-Evans. “A workshop like this gives all stakeholders a chance to have a say in how to encourage the adoption of sustainable practices at the local level. This is essential to balance the demands of the economy, poverty reduction and social development, equitable and efficient use of natural resources, and maintaining a clean and healthy environment.”

Today’s event also serves as the inaugural meeting for the National Council on Sustainable Development (NCSD), a multi-stakeholder body established in late 2005 to oversee the implementation of the Vietnam Agenda 21.

Emphasizing the importance of moving toward more sustainable practices, Mr. Vo Hong Phuc, Minister of Planning and Investment (MPI), in his new role as the Standing Vice Chairman of NCSD emphasized the role of local levels: “All Ministries, sectors, provinces and cities should actively and promptly formulate their own Agenda 21 plan with community participation, involving businesses, schools, NGOs and local people.”

In rolling out Viet Nam’s Agenda 21 into provinces and ministries, six provinces and four Ministries are preparing their own sustainable development plans. These road maps will make development plans more inclusive and sustainable within each province and sector.

This national effort is fully supported by an alliance of international development agencies including UNDP, the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) and the Royal Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA). Since 2001, these agencies have supported a $3.0 million project to help MPI and other agencies to formulate and implement Agenda 21 in Viet Nam.

“The Government of Vietnam is fully aware of the importance of sustainable development - a vital requirement in every country’s process of development,” said Minister Phuc. “Viet Nam is determined to develop the country sustainability.”

Contact informationLe Van Hung, UNDP Programme Officer,
phone 9421495 (ext 159),
Michael Coleman, UNDP Communications Unit (ext 161)