Prof. Huynh Dang Chinh, Vice President of Hanoi University of Science and Technology

Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues and friends,

A very good morning and xin chao.

First of all, please allow me to offer my warmest greetings to our hosts from the Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST). I would especially like to congratulate HUST on its former president, Professor Hoang Minh Son, having recently been selected as the Deputy Minister for Education and Training. I would also like to offer my compliments on the successful election of HUST’s new leadership at the beginning of this month, and I wish you all the best in your new positions as the driving force behind one of Viet Nam’s foremost institutions on science and technology.

I am delighted to announce that UNDP and HUST have just signed an MOU this morning aiming to promote closer cooperation between our two organizations. We have seen many different areas of mutual interest where there are opportunities for us to collaborate, such as issues of waste and plastic, persistent organic pollutants and chemical management, awareness raising, and of course the Environmental Performance Index, which is the reason why we are here today. I am sure that we will both benefit from this new partnership, and I look forward to our future work together.

Colleagues and friends,

As you are aware, the Environmental Performance Index, or EPI, is a way to quantify the environmental performance of a state’s policies. It was developed based on a pilot first published in 2002, but after 18 years, it has since grown into a global report ranking 180 countries around the world on 32 different indicators relating to environmental health and ecosystem vitality. It is a powerful, data-driven tool whose ultimate purpose is to support countries’ efforts to meet the targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and move towards a more sustainable future.

Understanding the state of sustainability on a global scale, or even just at the national level, is a very complicated challenge that can seem overwhelming at times. It also requires a lot of carefully analyzed data, and some way to make sense of what the numbers mean. The indicators measured by the EPI offer a clear way not only to understand a country’s, state’s, or province’s environmental performance, but also to highlight current issues or successes, analyze policy outcomes, and track trends over time. All of these combined create an extremely useful toolkit that can provide countries with the practical guidance they need to make more informed, precisely targeted decisions and shape their country’s trajectory on future environmental policy.

The EPI in Viet Nam, which is currently undergoing the development of its second iteration after an initial kickoff report was written in 2018, has been formulated following similar standards to those used in the global report. We are currently working with the School of Environmental Science and Technology (INEST) to develop Viet Nam’s 2020 report, and plan to launch it by the end of this year. The 2020 EPI is expected to provide a ranking of all 63 provinces showing their environmental performance based on a set of 10 indicators.

Colleagues and friends,

In this morning’s workshop, we welcome the participation of two distinguished academics who have been supporting the process of developing Viet Nam’s EPI report: Dr. Angel Hsu, a professor from Yale University who has many years of experience with the EPI, and Dr. Zainura Zainon Noor, a professor from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia who will be sharing with us her experience on how Malaysia has developed its own national EPI and how it has been used by the public and the government. Although they are unfortunately unable to join us in person like we had hoped when this project first began, we are glad to have them with us virtually, and I am sure that their presentations will offer many useful insights on how we can fine-tune Viet Nam’s second EPI report to be a useful tool for policy reform.

I hope that we will be able to take today’s workshop as opportunity for participants to share and listen to each other’s comments, so that the INEST team will be able to benefit from the experience and knowledge gathered here today. I wish you all a productive and engaging morning discussion, and I look forward to the launch of the final report in the near future.

In closing, allow me to express again my appreciation to HUST for your collaboration with UNDP. I hope that we will be able to count on your continued support to INEST to ensure that they will be able to continue this important work on the EPI in the future. We are looking forward to working together with you in the times ahead to help build a safer, greener, and more prosperous Viet Nam.

Thank you, xin cảm ơn!

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