Date:     Friday, 15 November 2019
Event:   Accelerating Agriculture Business Towards Low-Emission and Climate-Resilient Pathways in Viet Nam
Venue:  Grand Sai Gon Hotel, No. 8 Đồng Khởi, Hồ Chí Minh City

Dr. Chu Van Chuong, Deputy Director General of the International Cooperation and Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Representatives from Private Sector and Civil Society,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Xin Chao and a very Good morning!

Let me join Dr. Chu Van Chuong in warmly welcoming you to our dialogue today.

I am very encouraged to be part of this gathering today. Although we come from different fields, we are together in our conviction that that our changing climate is doing harm to our communities, our towns, our countries and our planet. 

We know that Climate change is here, and that it will affect each one of us in increasingly severe ways. The scale of its impact now and for the future of our children has made climate change one of the most urgent issues facing humanity today. 

Just last week, more than 11,000 researchers from around the world issued a report of the "untold suffering" that will be caused by climate change if humanity doesn't change its ways. These 11,000 scientists are not alone. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which is the United Nations body dedicated to providing the world with an objective, scientific view of climate change has repeatedly warned the world about the impacts of Climate Change.

We have heard it enough, we have seen the impacts up close as we witness the loss of life and the havoc to our communities every so often. It is now time to act.  We can averse the catastrophic impacts of Climate Change, if we act together and act now. We must cut half of global GHG emission by 2030 and drop to net-zero by the middle of the century.

That is why this September, at the end of UN high level Summit in New York, more than 100 leaders in the private sector committed to accelerate their business model to green economies. A group of the world’s largest asset-owners responsible for directing more than $2 trillion – committed moving to carbon-neutral investment portfolios by 2050. 130 banks – one-third of the global banking sector – signed up to align their businesses with the Paris agreement objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals. 

These are the forward-looking businesses who are undertaking climate actions by applying green technologies and nature-based solutions as their new competitive edge.

Here in Vietnam, we know that the country will not be able to leap to the next stage of economic development without investment capital and innovation from the private sector. The agricultural sector plays a key role in the Vietnamese economy. In 2018, it accounted for 14.47 per cent of the GDP, and its export turnover reached a new record of more than $40 billion. 

The agricultural sector is ripe with potential for green investment opportunities to support more sustainable development at all stages of the food value chain. Green investments in low-carbon agriculture could save millions of US dollars every year that could in turn be invested in the much needed income for farmers and in adapting to the adverse consequences of climate change.

Colleagues and friends,

Today’s meeting is a good opportunity to reflect on how Viet Nam can transform its economy toward low carbon resilient pathways, and how Viet Nam’s business communities, particularly those who are working in agriculture can lead such a transformation. 

In this context, I would like to offer a few points for your consideration:

First, in Viet Nam, we cannot emphasize enough the urgent need to scale up successful agri-business initiatives that are green and echo friendly.

The past few years saw significant progress how Vietnamese farmers, traders, fertilizer and agrochemicals manufacturers, seed suppliers, primary processors, and Agri-tech suppliers from both food and non-food crops are taking part in climate solutions. Each one of them are setting examples for responsible business and commendable climate actions.  We now need to bring these initiatives to scale.

I am glad to mention that UNDP is currently working with MARD in building a network of pioneer firms in the fruit sector who are systematically strengthening their supply chains with green solutions and reducing their carbon foot print.   

Second, With the increasing impact of Climate Change, extreme climate events can set-back hard-won development gains. According to the World Bank the impacts of climate change on the agriculture sector may reduce up to 2.4% GDP of Viet Nam by 2050. It is, therefore essential to support business to climate-proof their investments, build transformative solutions for vulnerable farmers and empower private sector to adjust their business plans to disasters and climate shocks.  

Third, whilst many of us contribute to wider value chain initiatives with customers, trade association and partners, to date, there has not been a platform to harness the combined strengths of the sector at national level. As the transformational agenda of MARD for agriculture production, energy, water and land-use systems is taking center stage, it is critical to establish an open platform for agri-businesses and stakeholders to collectively share their pledges and commitments, initiatives and good practices on climate actions. We would like to work with MARD and private sector to establish an Agriculture Hub for green commodities in Viet Nam, making useful information, such as climate and business environment and cutting-edge technologies that are assessible for businesses. 

Colleagues and friends, 

Globally, UNDP is stepping up our collaboration with private and public sector. Today we will share with you some of the example of our work from around the world.

We are implementing a new project to “Accelerate Private Sector Engagement in Climate Resilient and Low-Emission Investment Opportunities in Viet Nam”. The project aims to actively encourage the private sector, particularly in Agriculture sector, to finance, support, and implement technically sound, financially viable, risk-informed mitigation and adaptation action in support of Viet Nam’s emerging NDC targets.

I look forward to continuing our collaboration with the private sector, Government, development partners, non-government organizations, start-up communities and academies. 

I wish our workshop today a success. Xin cam on va chuc suc khoe!

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