Speech at the energy efficiency conference

15 Nov 2011

Speaker: Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director
Date:      Tuesday, 15 November 2011
Event:     Energy efficiency conference

Your Excellency, Mr. Chu Ngoc Anh, Vice Minister of Science & Technology;
Your Excellency, Mr. Nguyen Tuan Anh, Vice Minister of Industry & Trade;
Distinguished colleagues;
Ladies and gentlemen;

It is a greal pleasure to be with you today to share experience and lessons learnt on energy conservation and energy efficiency. I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Industry and Trade for jointly organizing this important workshop and would also like to welcome all of you present today. 

UNDP, together with the UN colleagues, is supporting Viet Nam’s transition to a green economy. The 2011 Global Human Development Report indicated that Viet Nam has made a remarkable progress in human development over the last two decades and among the three Human Development Indicators (HDI) of life expectancy, education, and income growth, income growth has been the main driver of human development.  There is a strong correlation between carbon dioxide emissions per capita and income growth. Although Viet Nam’s carbon footprint is still relatively small, it is growing at a faster pace than many other countries and will continue to rise rapidly along with Viet Nam’s fast growing economy. Yet as the same Report warns that the development progress achieved so far risks being reversed mid-century unless we take bold actions to slow climate change and prevent further environmental damage – globally and nationally. So unless Viet Nam pursues a green growth path, its ability to pursue and achieve its full human development potential will be threatened. That is why we are here to discuss energy conservation and energy efficiency.

Let me start by telling you about an interesting and successful example of an energy efficiency project. This project – “Promoting Energy Conservation in Small and Medium Scale Enterprises” – is one that UNDP has worked on for the last six years, in partnership with the Ministry of Science and Technology. I would like to show you some photos from the project to give you a better idea of what it has achieved. 

The project has been particularly successful in the ceramics village Bat Trang, which lies just outside of Ha Noi. Since the late 1990s the ceramics production in Bat Trang has grown rapidly – but at the expense of the environment. This first picture shows what things were looking like before the project started. At that time, every business, workshop and household in Bat Trang was using coal burning kilns. These were consuming a lot of coal and emitting a lot of CO2 into the environment. This was causing serious health problem for workers and villagers in Bat Trang, with over 70 percent of the village residents diagnosed with respiratory diseases.

With the support of the UNDP/Ministry of Science and Technology project the situation has now been turned around. The project has helped introduce new, green technologies. It has also worked with a commercial bank to introduce a loan guarantee fund. This fund helps businesses borrow funding to invest in new and clean kilns. This picture shows one of these new gas burning kilns in Bat Trang.

The third picture shows the UNDP Administrator Helen Clark who visited Bat Trang in summer 2010. During her visit, Ms. Clark met with a young ceramic craftsman, Nguyen Van Hop, and visited his family’s ceramic workshop. Mr. Hop said when he was using the old coal kiln, his own health and that of people around him was quite poor as a result of being exposed to the very strong coal smoke. 

Since he joined the project in early 2008, Mr. Hop’s business has also prospered further. The new kiln has helped him to produce better quality ceramic products, expand his production and hire more workers.

This story from Bat Trang is just one of the many good examples and achievements the project can feel proud of. I would like to highlight three further achievements.

First of all, the project offered win-win-win solutions for delivering energy efficiency, income growth and job creation. The project has proved that sustainable development works in Viet Nam. If the right approach is introduced, there are both economic and environmental benefits for those involved. For instance, energy efficiency not only helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts, but also reduces energy costs for businesses. And new, clean technology can help businesses to produce higher quality products and prosper, thus generating more green jobs and contributing to poverty reduction.

Secondly, the project created a new market for energy efficiency. By providing support to more than 500 businesses, a number of other energy efficiency service providers have set up business. They are now providing a wide range of services, from energy auditing to advice on cleaner production.

Finally, it led to a good policy model and resources to achieve sustainability. The experiences and lessons learnt have contributed to the formulation of the first ever Viet Nam law on energy saving and energy efficiency, which was approved by the National Assembly in 2010. And most importantly the loan guarantee fund which I mentioned earlier continues to operate effectively, helping more businesses access clean and green technology.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, you will hear from experts from Cambodia, China, Japan, Korea, Laos and Thailand on innovative ways to promote green technology, and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. I hope the workshop can also help to bring experts, government officials, businesses and service providers together in addressing these issues.

Together, we work to ensure a sustainable future for all of Viet Nam’s citizens and a clean and green environment.

I wish you fruitful discussions and a successful workshop. Thank you.