Speech at the inception workshop of the project “Strengthening capacity on natural resources and environment policy development and environmental performance”

Dec 12, 2013

Photo: @UN 2011/Shutterstock

Speaker: Mr. Bakhodir Burkhanov, UNDP Deputy Country Director
Event: Inception workshop of the project “Strengthening capacity on natural resources and environment policy development and environmental performance”
Date: 12 December 2013

Dr. Tran Hong Ha, Vice-Minister of Natural Resources and Environment
Distinguished representatives from ministries and agencies
Colleagues from development partner agencies
Ladies and gentlemen:

I am very pleased to be here at the inception of the Project “Strengthening Capacity on Natural Resources and Environment Policy Development and Environmental Performance”. I would like to thank the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, participating agencies in MONRE and other partner ministries, for their contributions to the formulation of this project.

Viet Nam reaffirmed its commitment to addressing environmental challenges through the adoption of the Party Resolution on Responding to Climate Change and Improvement of Natural Resource Management and Environmental Protection in June 2013. It reinforced the realization of the new model of “sustainable growth based on higher productivity and better balance between economic, social and environmental protection priorities", as specified in Viet Nam’s 10-year Socio-Economic Development Strategy (2011-2020).

The Government has shown its strong leadership and commitment to protect natural resources and environment through the improvement of legislative framework. The ongoing revision of the Law on Environment Protection and the efforts to develop a new law on Natural Resources and Environment of Seas and Islands illustrate this commitment.
However, awareness and enforcement of these policies at local level appears to be limited. Viet Nam is unlikely to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 7 on environmental sustainability, especially the targets on greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity and access to water and sanitation, while it has already most other goals ahead of time. According to studies released in 2012, Viet Nam’s air pollution is among the ten highest in the world and . Tthe country ranks 123rd in air quality and 79th in addressing pollution control and natural resource management among the 132 countries ranked in the 2012 international EPI Index.

The project that we are launching today will help improve the application of existing environmental policies, and feed into the formulation of relevant laws and monitoring of their implementation. In doing so, it will help promote consistency and coherence of policy frameworks, and address existing discrepancies. Importantly, the project will work with counterparts to facilitate participatory consultations towards developing comprehensive and forward-looking legal frameworks that include new and emerging issues, including those covered in the recent Constitutional amendment. We are happy to have the full commitment and engagement of the participating departments in MONRE, including the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment, Viet Nam Environment Administration, Viet Nam Administration of Seas and Islands, and the General Department of Geology and Minerals.

It is also encouraging to see the innovation in this project that enables independent evaluation of environmental performance at provincial level, and participation of communities in monitoring the enforcement and implementation of environmental laws. Specifically, the project will pilot the Environment Performance Index at provincial level in Viet Nam, which will help produce an objective and dynamic picture of environmental quality in provinces for appropriate policy decisions.

Ladies and gentlemen:

Our collective efforts in natural resource management and environmental protection will not be successful without concerted action of all partners and stakeholders ranging from national to local government and communities on the ground. This inception workshop is an opportunity to enrich the project implementation with valuable ideas and expertise of these stakeholders.

UNDP is truly excited to be part of this project. We are committed to bringing relevant international expertise and experiences, helping build capacities of institutions, and coordinating with development partners for effective results towards greater environmental sustainability and efficient use of natural resources in Viet Nam.

I look forward to fruitful deliberations today paving the way for a successful implementation of this important project.
I wish you all good health, happiness and success!

Xin cam on!

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