Opening remarks at the seminar on implementation of the National Green Growth Strategy

26 Apr 2013

Speaker:  UNDP Country Director, Ms. Louise Chamberlain
Date:        26 April 2013, 18.00pm   
Event:      Seminar on Implementation of the National Green Growth Strategy
Venue:     Fansipang Hotel, Da Nang city

Excellency, Mr. Phan Xuân Dũng, Chairman of the National Assembly Committee of Science, Technology and Environment;
Honourable Mr. Nguyen The Phuong, Vice Minister of Planning and Investment
Honourable Mr. Vo Tuan Nhan, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Committee of Science, Technology and Environment,
Honourable National Assembly members;
Distinguished Government representatives,
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Good Afternoon!

Let me start by thanking the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Committee for Science, Technology and Environment of the National Assembly for inviting me to address you at this very important event today.

At the Earth Summit, or Rio+20 in 2012, Heads of States reached agreement on a green economy. The outcome document named “The Future We Want” recognizes the importance of low carbon and clean development by all countries, and shows that a green economy is an attainable goal.

UNDP commends Viet Nam for its strong commitments to low carbon development. The pursuit of a green economy will help Viet Nam to transform its economic structure to improve the quality of growth, increase resource efficiency, and increase the value added of production. These are among the “breakthroughs” listed in the Socio-Economic Development Strategy.

Viet Nam has taken an encouraging step with the adoption of the national Green Growth Strategy in 2012. This sets some clear targets, for example to reduce the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions by 8-10% in 2020 as compared to the 2010 level. Meeting this target requires bold and innovative solutions and a change in the behaviours of consumers and businesses.

Parliaments have important oversight and legislative roles to play in tackling global environmental challenges and climate change. Allow me to highlight three areas where the National Assembly plays a key role:

First of all, a strong legal framework for climate change is necessary to ensure that a comprehensive response to climate change becomes institutionalized, predictable, and sustained over time. While the Green Growth Strategy and Climate Change Strategy represent very important progress and momentum, international agreements and Viet Nam’s commitments have not yet been reflected in law. A strong legal framework will help set the path of priority actions on climate change that also bring economic, social and other environmental benefits.

Secondly, the National Assembly holds the government accountable for ensuring rational investments and ensuring effective budget spending.

With full information on levels of investment and recurrent spending on climate change, the National Assembly can support and ensure proper priority on sectors, places and communities where state budget as well as international funding can be most effective.

UNDP and World Bank are currently supporting MPI and the Government in a review of public expenditure on climate change and the National Assembly has a key role to play as users of such information.

Thirdly, a concerted reform effort is needed for successful implementation of the national Green Growth Strategy.
Achieving the first objective of the national Green Growth Strategy on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of the economy, will require review of fiscal incentives related to fossil fuels and environment. Viet Nam now has an environmental tax, and although the rates are low it serves as a price signal to consumers and producers to reduce environmental impacts.

However, at the same time Viet Nam provides substantial indirect subsidies on fossil fuels that encourage waste and inefficiency.

There is a need to gradually shift the fiscal burden to those that use scarce natural resources and pollute the environment. It is also important to stimulate resource use efficiencies; cleaner technologies; and investment in renewable energy. This will improve economic growth and social benefits. The analysis presented to you today will clearly demonstrate both the complexity and importance of reform, and the need for strong coordination to achieve success.

Finally, with reference to the third objective of the Green Growth Strategy of promoting environment-friendly lifestyles, creating the incentives for change in consumer behaviours will require close cooperation between different State actors and the business community.

Honourable National Assembly members;
UNDP has the privilege to provide support to the formulation of climate change and sustainable development policies in Vietnam, including several key laws and the national Green Growth Strategy that you will be discussing today.

I hope today’s event will lift the implementation of the Green Growth Strategy, and make a green economy attainable in Viet Nam.

In conclusion, let me assure you that UNDP and other UN organizations in Viet Nam are fully committed to continue working with the Government, the National Assembly and other partners to support implementation of the Green Growth Strategy  – for a more sustainable and equitable future for all Vietnamese people.

I wish you fruitful discussions and a successful workshop.

Chuc cac dai bieu suc khoe va thanh dat.