Written by: Phan Huong Giang, Nguyen Phuong Hoa. Photo: Nguyen Phuong Hoa

The traditional economy is based on the principle of 'take, make, and dispose.' It is increasingly clear that this linear model presents a real threat to the health of humans, the environment, and natural ecosystems. A circular economy helps reduce the exploitation of natural resources, limit waste to the environment, and promote economic development. Compared with the traditional economy, the circular economy benefits countries, communities, and businesses. They are the way towards a low-carbon and circular Viet Nam.

At a recent consultation workshop on Circular Economy Policies and the Viet Nam Circular Economy Hub organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), more than 200 representatives from different Vietnamese government ministries, international organizations, businesses, business associations, research institutions, students, CSOs, and NGOs discussed the Draft Decree on implementing Article 142 on Circular Economy under the Revised Law on Environmental Protection 2020 and the development and implementation of the "Viet Nam Circular Economy Hub" (or CE Hub).

"The circular economy is not only the reuse of waste, considering waste as a resource, but also the connection between economic activities in a pre-determined way, forming a cycle in the economy," said Mr. Vo Tuan Nhan, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment.

Speaking at the consultation, Mr. Terence D. Jones, UNDP Viet Nam Resident Representative a.i., highlighted an economic opportunity for Viet Nam to foster sustainable business and help entrepreneurs leapfrog pollutive practices, which would allow the country to move away from the so-called middle-income trap.

"The transition towards a circular economy should be inclusive, fair, and contribute to the socio-economic development strategy of the country by investing in education programmes geared towards communities, citizens, and the workforce," he added.

Mr. Pham Hiep, an investor of Nam Cau Kien Industrial Park, shared, "The circular economy brings great benefits to businesses at our industrial park, one of which is to reduce production costs by 15-20%." He also expressed his hope for favorable policies from the government which would encourage more businesses to invest in industrial park infrastructure nationwide, helping current industrial parks to become more eco-friendly.

Ms. Tran Minh Hue of the Department of Science, Education, Natural Resources and Environment at the Ministry of Planning and Investment emphasized, "The implementation of the circular economy needs to be in the right order and following the right principles to make sure that the input and output resources are used most rationally and effectively. It should be seen as a solution to economic recovery after COVID-19."

Viet Nam Circular Economy Hub

At the workshop, UNDP and MONRE launched the "Viet Nam Circular Economy Hub." The CE Hub aims to raise awareness and build the capacity of all stakeholders, including public authorities, businesses, civil society, academia, in adopting the principles of the circular economy, creating synergies, and integrating financial and technical resources to support the transition towards a low-carbon and circular Viet Nam.

Bringing in her experience implementing a circular economy hub for the business community in Da Nang, Ms. Thao Nhi, CEO of Da Nang Business Incubator, shared that, "It is necessary to have an overall and sustainable approach to combining and coordinating public-private relationships." She also mentioned that there should be a roadmap when establishing the CE Hub to respond to the problems and pain points of the local communities.

The CE Hub receives generous financial support from the Norwegian Embassy and technical support from the Dutch Embassy.

"The circular economy is an important part of the UNDP project ‘Scaling up a Socialized Model of Domestic Waste and Plastic Management’ that Norway is happy to support. I believe that the Viet Nam Circular Economy Hub will be a great platform that brings together various stakeholders, including the private sector, to work and turn plastics into business and economic opportunities in Viet Nam. This is important for both the ocean environment and a sustainable economy. And this is also a Norwegian experience," said Norwegian Ambassador to Viet Nam Ms. Grete Løchen.

Mr. Christoph Prommersbeger, Chargé d'Affaires at the Dutch Embassy in Viet Nam, said, "We are delighted to be a partner of the Viet Nam Circular Economy Hub launched today. The Netherlands, its experts, companies, and their technological solutions stand ready to assist Viet Nam to support a vision of a future-proof, sustainable economy for current and future generations. The fight against pollution is a race to the top. Ruling by example will be to the benefit of our profit, people, and the planet."

The CE Hub is designed as a public-private partnership and a place for dialogue that can act as a bridge between existing initiatives and stakeholders in Viet Nam and globally. The CE Hub will include a web portal (available in Vietnamese and English), as well as organize training, workshops, and events to enhance dialogue, generate know-how, and mobilize collective action towards the CE transition.

The CE Hub includes five key thematic areas. Firstly, the Policy Dialogue supports the formulation of policies, regulations, and guidelines that will create the legal basis for the transition to a circular economy in Viet Nam. Secondly, Knowledge Sharing with curate, and synthesize the latest available knowledge on the circular economy includes sectoral case studies, business models, and educational materials. Thirdly, the Financing Portal disseminates financing opportunities to businesses and organizations and facilitates the connection between investors and CE projects in Viet Nam. Fourthly, the Business Forum connects enterprises, fosters partnerships, facilitates the exchange of materials and resources, and greens value chains. Finally, a database displays community-led initiatives, pledges. and commitments by the whole of society and curates inspiring stories from the actors of the transition.

More information: http://vietnamcirculareconomy.vn


UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Viet Nam 
Go to UNDP Global