Speech at the consultation workshop on the Viet Nam Green Growth Strategy

May 14, 2012

Speaker: Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director    
Date:       14 May 2012
Event:      Consultation workshop on the Viet Nam Green Growth Strategy

Your Excellency, Vice Minister Nguyen The Phuong;
Distinguished participants from central and local agencies;
Excellencies and colleagues from the international community;
Ladies and gentlemen;

Let me start by congratulating the Government of Viet Nam on the development of the Green Growth Strategy. I would also like to thank MPI and Vice Minister Phuong for organizing this consultation meeting today with donors and development partners.

Today’s meeting is one of the last in which MPI is seeking input from donors and development partners and so I am very pleased to see so many friends and colleagues with us today.

Viet Nam’s Socio-economic Development Strategy for 2011-2020 focuses on orientations for development, the needed growth model and economic restructuring. The world is starting to realize that growth is necessary beyond short-term austerity measures. Under the current global financial and economic environment, the question now is how a lower MIC country like Viet Nam can grow sustainably in a highly volatile world. The past growth model served the country well to achieve poverty reduction and economic growth. It is now timely to consider a people-centered development strategy for the generations to follow. The Green Growth Strategy offers new thinking and will guide us to a new sustainable growth model.
In the context of the upcoming Rio+20 conference on sustainable development in June and at a time when a number of other countries have started to pursue green development pathways, the preparation of a green growth strategy is indeed very timely. Viet Nam’s adoption of a green growth agenda shows that the country is serious about pursuing sustainable development in a comprehensive and practical manner.

As Viet Nam pursues a green economy there is much it can learn from other countries, especially in the Asia Pacific region. Many countries have made a transition to a green economy and committed to nationally appropriate mitigation actions. Tomorrow we will launch the Asia-Pacific Human Development Report entitled: “One Plant to Share: Sustaining Human Progress in a Changing Climate”. This report shares various strategies for climate change challenges and green growth strategies undertaken in the region. Viet Nam has also embarked on a number of concrete actions, including the implementation of a national target programme on energy efficiency and conservation and piloting a feed-in tariff for renewable wind energy.

On the road to a green economy there are of course both short- and medium-term challenges. Phasing out subsidies to energy and energy inefficient technologies will enable both more sustainable and faster growth, but may threaten the livelihoods of poor people. It is therefore important to develop resilience, especially among vulnerable populations in rural areas and ensure that more comprehensive social protection policies are in place and that poor and marginalized groups have access to new jobs and human development opportunities. It is therefore very encouraging to see that the green growth strategy has taken a green employment aspect into account.

Green growth also cannot be achieved without the full participation of all stakeholders, especially the private sector. Many Vietnamese companies have already started to initiate green growth investments. I am pleased to see that the development of the green growth strategy has been very consultative and participatory. This approach should continue in the future implementation of the strategy.

In this connection, I am also pleased to note that lifestyle and behavioral changes is one of the three pillars of the Green Growth Strategy.  Energy consumption in households is expected to increase with a growing population, especially in urban areas. The demographic change, climate change challenges and an emerging middle class will present opportunities for participation of civil society to promote greener lifestyles for sustainable consumption. These changes will also present opportunities for the private sector to support such emerging domestic needs with greener technologies, new products and services.

Finally, the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in June will discuss and determine the future of our shared planet. The scope of a green economy, green growth and its key principles will be defined. Green growth is an option for the future, and the transition can be supported by all partners, with new trade facilitation, new mechanisms for aid and financing, and technology transfers.

I hope that today we will have a constructive exchange of views between representatives from the donor and development partner community and the green growth drafting team, and that this exchange will deepen in future.

Thank you very much for your attention. I would like to wish you a successful workshop.