Speech at the consultation on action plan for the Viet Nam Green growth strategy

21 Jun 2013

Speaker: Ms. Pratibha Mehta, UN Resident Coordinator
Date:       21 June 2013
Event:     Consultation on Action Plan for the Viet Nam Green Growth Strategy
Venue:    Sofitel Plaza, Ha Noi

Dr. Nguyen The Phuong, Vice Minister of Planning and Investment,
Jennifer Sara, World Bank,
Distinguished participants from the Government and national agencies,
Colleagues from the international community,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me start by congratulating the Ministry of Planning and Investment and Vice Minister Phuong for its continued leadership of Viet Nam’s green growth efforts. I appreciate the opportunity to address the consultation meeting today.

It is very encouraging to see that Viet Nam’s pursuance of green, low emissions and climate-resilient development is receiving so much support and attention from Government agencies, the private sector, ordinary citizens, as well as development partners.

At the global level, investment in clean energy, including renewable energy and energy-smart technologies such as smart grid, efficiency, power storage and advanced transportation, stood at 267 billion US Dollars in 2012. UNEP’s 2013 Report on Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment shows that investment in renewable energy alone was 244 billion US Dollars.

The recently adopted Party Resolution on Climate Change, Natural Resources and Environment indicates a clear green growth direction. And Viet Nam’s wind energy farms in Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, and Bac LieuCa Mau are evidence of private sector participation in the green growth agenda.

The draft national Action Plan of the Green Growth Strategy presented today is another key step towards realizing Viet Nam’s green growth vision. As we are working together to make this Action Plan comprehensive and implementable, I would like to suggest a few points for your consideration.

First, the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets set in the Green Growth Strategy were based on studies of some sectors with high emissions as well as significant potential to reduce emissions, so the Action Plan should provide a clear breakdown of targets per sector. It should specify responsible ministries, provinces, and cities to deliver on segments of the overall targets.

This has to be underpinned by a clear financing strategy and technically well designed interventions. The line ministries and provincial authorities must regulate and businesses and ordinary citizens are central in actual implementation. The Action Plan should demonstrate how the central and local authorities will enable the private sector and citizens to play their part, through market-based measures such as specific taxes, fees, and targeted subsidies; government investments; regulation and enforcement of regulation; and also capacity building. And development partners can assist some of that.

Secondly, the Action Plan is an opportunity for prioritization and increasing focus, as well as for sequencing of actions, all of which are important for successful implementation. Some priority sectors and technologies with the greatest potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have already been identified, including energy, manufacturing industry, and forestry.

Thirdly, the Green Growth Strategy has a focus on improving and managing Viet Nam’s natural resources and the Government plans to introduce green GDP from 2014, so the Action Plan is an opportunity to move away from heavy reliance on natural capital, such as forestry, fisheries and minerals, improve efficiencies and increase added value of products. Importantly, the livelihoods of many of the rural poor depend on natural resources, which is a critical reason for protecting them.

Finally, fiscal reforms are critical. Along with the current macro-economic reform agenda, including reform of State Owned Enterprises, it is important to reinforce reforms of energy markets. The Green Growth Strategy commits Viet Nam to the removal of indirect subsidies on fossil fuels, which is vital for its success. A shift in the tax burden of companies and citizens towards taxing undesirable pollution and natural resource use whilst reducing other taxes will also be important. Fossil fuel fiscal policy reform can enable renewable energy production and investment in clean technology. It could help GDP growth; balancing the Government budget; improve national energy security; and generate green jobs.

Removal of energy subsidies and shifts in the tax burden will be difficult to implement because in the short term some businesses and citizens will face increased costs whilst benefits will only materialize some years later. The UN and other development partners are working with national researchers and the Government to formulate the key actions and steps for achieving fossil fuel fiscal reforms. We look forward to a Green Growth Action Plan that reflects those actions and steps.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me end by thanking everyone here today for attending this consultation. I wish MPI and the Government successful formulation of the Green Growth Action Plan. And I look forward to fruitful discussions today.

Thank you for your attention.