ASEM embraces green growth for future stability

Embracing a green, low-carbon economy is seen as a long-term and sustainable way of dealing with resource depletion, economic uncertainty and climate change, identified as some of “the greatest challenges of our time”.

Chief of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s Environment and Development Policy Section, Masakazu Ichimura, highlighted the importance of such a new growth model at the Green Growth Forum held in Ha Noi yesterday.

The event formed part of an Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) initiative where senior Asian and European officials gathered to discuss ways in which to shift economies from a ‘grow first, clean up later’ approach toward a greener development path.

Ichimura said that green growth would be aimed at all spheres of the economy in terms of integrated policy intervention.

Speaking at the forum, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh said that green growth not only served as a vehicle to foster global economic growth and recovery, but also as a tool to implement sustainable development based on social and environmental protection.

Miyon Lee, director general of the International Co-operation Team of the Presidential Committee on Green Growth in South Korea, one of many ASEM members that have taken a lead in greening their economies, said: “Strong political and social commitment are integral elements in the implementation of a national policy based on green growth.”

She said that all countries had a responsibility to develop green growth policies before it became too late to do so.

“Based on South Korea’s experience, we believe that initiatives cannot be driven by public policy alone. It is essential for the private sector to play its part too,” Lee explained.

“Apart from national plans, a market based on green technology demand is integral alongside investment in infrastructure to ensure supply,” she added.

Nguyen Van Tai, director general of the Natural Resources and Environment Strategy and Policy Institute, said that Viet Nam’s current economic growth still depended on intense natural resource exploitation, low efficiency and unreasonable benefit allocation.

“Indeed, polluters are occupying a large proportion of the economy,” he said, adding that economic structure was shifting towards expanding a ‘green economy’ based on comparative advances originating from ‘natural capital’.

Such an approach, he said, would entail removing policy barriers and subsidy mechanisms that are harmful to the environment while promoting policies that stimulate eco-friendly goods and services.

The two-day forum, which wraps up today, drew the participation of 180 delegates who have shared their experiences on incorporating green growth models in national strategies and co-operation mechanisms among ASEM members toward greener economies.

The Asia-Europe Meeting was established in 1996, consisting of 48 members representing more than 60 per cent of the world’s population and 55 per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product.

The Green Growth Forum was an initiative endorsed by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at the ASEM Summit last October in Brussels.

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