World Environment Day Celebration: Speech of Ms. Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director at the ceremony in Nha Trang

05 Jun 2008

Speaker: Ms Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director
Date:      June 5, 2008
Event:     World Environment Day, Nha Trang, Viet Nam

Kính thưa ngài Trần Đức Lương, former President of Viet Nam,
Kính thưa Bà Tòng Thị Phóng, Vice Chair of the National Assembly,
Kính thưa quý vị,
 
I am very happy to be with you, the people of Khanh Hoa Province, to launch this year’s World Environment Day celebrations, with the theme “Kick the CO2 Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy”.
 
This year we are focusing on the causes of global climate change – greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide from the use of fuel – and what each of us can do to protect our planet by reducing emissions of these harmful pollutants.
 
It is appropriate that we are here in Nha Trang discussing climate change because this city is an example of the types of communities and beautiful natural areas that are at greatest risk. I know the people of Khanh Hoa, as well as millions of other Vietnamese living along the extensive coastal region of Viet Nam have suffered a lot in recent years from floods, storms and drought.  Indeed, Viet Nam is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, and scientists say severe weather and climate-related natural disasters will only get worse with increasing global warming.
 
So what can we do?  There are two main areas we need to work on together: mitigation, or reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and adaptation, preparing for and minimizing the damage caused by climate change.  Massive efforts and resources will be required in Viet Nam over the coming decades, including investment in awareness raising and education; dyke building; adapting agriculture to droughts and floods; making industries more efficient and cleaner; and finding ways to reduce each person’s carbon footprint.

While developed countries have contributed the most to the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, climate change impacts people all over the world. It is no longer caused just by the rich countries but by well-off people everywhere.  Viet Nam has a relatively low level of emissions per capita now, but the country’s rate of growth is one of the fastest in the world.
 
Fortunately, climate change actions offer opportunities for Viet Nam. A low carbon path to development can be cost-effective, and even help the country continue to grow fast while improving the local and global environment. “Green growth” can help poor people and it will have other positive effects, especially on health. I believe Viet Nam could be a pioneer in the world, demonstrating a cleaner, low carbon development model, and through international mechanisms Viet Nam can attract funding and technology transfer from industrialized countries to help it achieve this goal.  Viet Nam can also use its growing international role to positively influence international cooperation on climate change.

Yet reversing climate change will also require action by individuals. People in all walks of life can reduce their carbon footprints by minimizing use of air-conditioners and fuel; installing efficient lighting; using land sustainably; and buying locally-produced products, among other things.
 
The United Nations supports the Government and people of Viet Nam in this critical climate struggle. We are funding projects and coordinating with other donors to help address the causes of climate change, and are working with the Government on formulation of the national targeted programme to address climate change.
 
These are big challenges, but with concerted efforts from national agencies, the international community, businesses and individuals like each of you, Viet Nam will overcome the challenges ahead and will enjoy a prosperous future. As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: Câu trả lời ở trong mỗi chúng ta”   

Xin cam on!