Speech at the launch of the national climate change strategy

07 Mar 2012

Speaker: Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director     
Date:       7 March 2012
Event:      Launch of the national climate change strategy

Your Excellency, Mr. Nguyen Minh Quang, Minister of Natural Resources & Environment,
Vice Minister Mr. Tran Hong Ha,
Mr John Nielsen, Danish Ambassador,
Ms. Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Country Director,
Mr. Motonori Tsuno, JICA Chief Representative,
Distinguished representatives,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me start by congratulating the Government for approval of the National Climate Change Strategy. It is a wonderful way to start the International Year of Sustainable Energy and it is a great pleasure for me to be with you on this auspicious occasion.

UNDP’s 2011 global Human Development Report indicated that Viet Nam has made remarkable progress in human development over the last two decades. Among the three Human Development Indicators (HDI) of life expectancy, education and income growth, income growth has been the main driver of human development. The report also found that 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, 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.

The good news is that Viet Nam is shifting its focus from economic growth to ‘quality of growth’, as it has reached middle-income country status. The Socio-Economic Development Strategy (2011-2020) promotes sustainable growth based on higher productivity and a balance between economic, social and environmental protection priorities.

The Climate Change Strategy launched today reflects not only the importance of climate change adaptation, but also demonstrates that Viet Nam is ready to work on greenhouse gas emissions mitigation. At the 17th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC in Durban, Viet Nam explicitly referred to its responsibility in this regard, which positions Viet Nam at the centre of the international negotiations.

Let me also commend the Government’s efforts in formulating a Green Growth Strategy to address low-carbon development, green production, restoring of natural assets and promotion of green lifestyles.

The National Climate Change Strategy and the forthcoming Green Growth Strategy are a foundation for turning climate change challenges into development opportunities. Both are highly relevant and timely as the world is preparing for Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June this year.

What is also important in tackling climate change challenges is a multi-sectoral approach. For example, green growth means green and decent jobs, green investment and technology transfer. For this, there is need for a highly skilled work force. Collaboration across ministries such as MPI, MONRE and the Ministry for Education and Training will also be required to prepare for a new generation highly skilled workforce.

In addition, green growth will only be achieved in cooperation with the private sector, under the leadership of the state. It will require experts in many fields, including experts who can develop fiscal policies and market regulations that attract domestic and foreign private investment and technology transfer. Here again cooperation among MONRE, MPI and the Ministry of Finance are required.

Finally, the climate finance architecture is crucial for addressing climate change and pursuing green development in Viet Nam. It is important for Viet Nam to actively involve itself in the design and operation of the Green Climate Fund. Viet Nam also needs to develop a suitable strategy to receive and manage climate finance at the national level, possibly through a national Climate Fund or funds that meet global standards, and that can enable direct access by national entities, including NGOs and business.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

UNDP is very pleased to be part of this journey and join forces with other development partners to address climate change challenges in Viet Nam. We are firmly committed to continuing to work with the Government, businesses, NGOs and local communities on this important global and national agenda.

I wish you fruitful discussions and a productive conference. Thank you very much.